By Rick Riozza

I told you this was going to happen.  In the desert here, springtime has always sprung into a quick summertime heater.  Even though we received our great share of rain and wonderful snow on our mountains, we have the example of day-one of the BNP Paribas Tennis Open that spiked to 90 degrees, and,  now the usual heat couching Coachella & Stagecoach.

And while we tried to discuss and review as many red wines for our “winter” season enthusiasts, I’m already hearing the clamoring from our readers that everything is coming up rosés and are looking for rosy recommendations stat!

Fortunately, I believe we have the backing of the red, white & blue-blooded rosé community to continue on mentioning a few more red wines that can wrap around our vino brains to still consider for late-afternoon and dinner quaffs.


Just as with last year’s columns, we will do our more-than-fair share of covering the therapeutic thirst quenching white wines of the valley.  But as far as I can tell, being part of the wine team at Total Wine, we’re still selling as many Cabernet Sauvignons as Chardonnay and it’s over 100 degrees outside!  No vino lover friend I speak to find themselves shackled to a “seasonal wine”; they’re drinking what they wish, when they want—no matter the heat, no matter the color.

So for your sipping enjoyment, please consider this following red selection:

The BV boys are back in town with Beaulieu Vineyards2014 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley and the 2013 Reserve Tapestry.  The red wines from this famous and venerable winery always deliver.  And they are both history and voluptuousness in a glass.  For more than 100 years BV has been setting the standard for rich, classic Napa Valley quaffs.  Everyone I know, always smiles when they see a BV wine uncorked at the table.  

So let’s talk a bit about BV’s Rutherford Cab.  For you fortunate travelers up to Napa Valley, the Rutherford AVA area is clearly on the radar.  Beaulieu Vineyards was one of the first to produce wines here.  And—we’ve all heard about the famed “Rutherford Dust” that the wines can exhibit in the flavor profile.

A fun subject for sure: Can one taste the dust? Can one smell the dust?—surely a sneeze would follow.  It’s been said, “In Rutherford, the deeper soils and microclimates create longer growing seasons and ‘hang time’ that seem to round out the tannins in a soft, dusty style. This gives wines from the area a powdery ‘fine dusty tannin’ effect with hints of plump cocoa powder. It is an absolutely addictive element in these wines.”

And there is the Rutherford Dust Society, a winery association dedicated to promoting this appellation. The society organizes an annual trade tasting called A Day in the Dust. Good dusty times!

As to the terroir generally, the area is warmer than Oakville and the Stags Leap District; its gravelly, sandy and loamy soils, provide exceptional drainage for growing Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varietals.

The BV 2014 Rutherford Cab is a power player with great saturation of color, aromas and flavors.  Winery notes state: “It’s massive brambly blackberry, cassis and black plum expression intermingles with nuances of earthy forest loam, mocha, pipe tobacco, caramel and sweet oak spices with “dusty” tannins and a balanced acidity.”  Definitely a wine to write home about, and, why not send a couple of bottles home to mom for Mother’s Day as well.

The term “tapestry” can be use figuratively in reference to an intricate or complex combination of things. Of course, this definition seems a text-book description of the BV 2013 Reserve Tapestry, the Bordeaux-blend handcrafted from the finest grapes of the vintage from BV’s premier estates in Rutherford, Stag Leaps District, St. Helena and Calistoga—that speaks volumes!

How lucky are you California vino fans with the opportunity to enjoy a bottle such as this at only $52 at Total Wine & More, Palm Desert! You guys know this; a Bordeaux of this quality would go for over $80 easy.  The 2013 vintage yielded highly concentrated grapes that became generous, intense wines with masculine tannin structure.

The artistry—the tapestry, of blending the five Bordeaux-heritage grape varieties, contribute to the layer upon layer flavors and complexities.  We’re talking about briary blackberry, classic cassis, profound plum notes, traces of roses, forest thicket, and graphic graphite.  Geez—as you can tell, these wine descriptions are an alliterative treasure-trove!

In all seriousness folks, this is a treat of a wine for those who care.  And why not send a couple of bottles to mom—or dad!—thank you! for the up-coming special occasions. 

For you week geeks still in the play here: the winemaker tailored the winemaking for each varietal (Cab Sauv, Merlot, Cab Franc, Petite Verdot, and Malbec) to best capture the personality of both the vintage and specific vineyard block. Cold soaking of destemmed grapes, gentle punch downs in open-top fermenters and in-barrel malolactic fermentation provided the wine’s richly textured flavors.

Please—don’t be afraid to aerate this wine for three hours or so.  It’s a very complex wine that would love to exhibit all that it is, so let it “breathe” for a while.  You’ll be tasting and recognizing what a true Napa wine is all about. Cheers!

Rick is your somm-about town entertaining and conducting at fun wine seminars at Total Wine, Palm Desert.  Contact