I recently had the pleasure of trying a trio of wines from Rued Vineyards of the Dry Creek Valley near Healdsburg, California. That's Rued pronounced roo-ed, and the Swiss-originated family has been at it for six generations in Northern California. As I told the publicist who sent me the wine, my family has been growing cotton around the Mid-South that long, but alas, cottonblogging really hasn't taken off as a mainstream phenomenon yet.
I tried the white wines with the recent Lenten Feast, and the red with a savory meatloaf in a rich tomato sauce.
2007 Rued Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc. $16, 13.5% abv, 642 cases made. Lemongrass aroma, almost clear color. Lemon peel flavor with a rounded finish containing some grassy tones. Bright acidity. While it paired well with the roast Dover sole, I think this one has a serious future with Thai food, and that's a segment that's constantly begging for a great wine.
2007 Rued Russian River Chardonnay. $18, 14.5% abv 881 cases made. Golden apple aromas and flavor, with just a hint of caramel. Honeydew melon flavors and just a touch of lemon on the finish. Lots of rich depth without the butter and toast explosion you get from many California Chards. This was my favorite of the three.
2005 Rued Dry Creek Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. $45, 15.4% abv, 280 cases made. Prune, black pepper, black cherries on finish... Slightly bitter edge with a touch of tobacco. Starts off hot, but that can be softened with some decanting beforehand. Big, firm tannins--I'd give it another couple of years in the cellar to mellow out. Despite that, it worked out nicely with the meatloaf. Use good quality ingredients, slow cooking, free-form baking on a sheet of parchment, and even the humble 'loaf can be haute enough for a good quality red.