Rutherford Vintners comes to us from the powerhouse Bronco Wine Company, one of the few wineries founded by a woman, Theresa Franzia. The family emigrated here from Italy to seek a better life, but were upended by Prohibition, which altered the course of wine production to a trickle.
Those who survived, did so making "sacramental wine" or supplying grapes to Italian immigrants in New York to make homemade wine. It is a little known fact that Prohibition did allow a household to make up to 200 gallons of wine a year for their own consumption. That amounts to about 75 cases of wine, which when you think about it, is a lot depending on the size of your "family." As far as the "sacramental wine" issue goes, we find it rather interesting just how much interest there was in this sacrament during Prohibition. Franzia certainly saw the opportunity and thus was able to stay afloat when nearly 90% of the wineries disappeared.
Today they are the 7th largest winery in in the US and the largest vineyard owner with more than 100,000 acres of grapes. Their size and scope includes every major appellation in California as well as Washington and Oregon. But, it is their properties in Napa Valley that garner the most interest. Our selection is a perfect example. It comes from the spectacular 2016 vintage making it a rare find. The layered flavors of black plum, cedar and black pepper are mesmerizing and provide the background for rack of lamb or a flank steak stuffed with sausage and peppers.