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2015 Sullivan Family "Estate" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (Elsewhere $110)

SKU #1385206 94 points James Suckling

 Very pretty and aromatic with flowers, currants and sandalwood. Sage, too. Full body, integrated fine tannins and a beautiful finish.  (12/2017)

92 points Jeb Dunnuck

 The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is more upfront and flamboyant, with sexy notes of sweet cassis, tobacco and violets. With medium to full body, not a hard edge to be found, and fruit galore, drink this pleasure-bent beauty over the coming decade or more.  (1/2019)

K&L Notes

Situated in the famed Rutherford AVA, in the heart of Napa Valley, Sullivan Rutherford Estate spans 26 acres of vineyards and lush gardens. The winery and vineyards are situated just off the legendary wine route (highway 29), between Zinfandel Lane and Galleron Road. At the center are the family residence and winery. For nearly fifty years the Estate has been an oasis for artists, chefs, friends and wine lovers, and to this day remains a destination for discerning travelers. The Estate was founded in 1972 by James ("Jim") O'Neil Sullivan, a visionary and pioneer of Rutherford, a premier Napa Valley appellation for Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, the Estate continues to build on its legacy of growing and crafting world class Cabernet Sauvignon. Under new ownership in 2018, the team is deeply investing in its vineyard programs and plans are underway to build a state of the art winery beginning in 2019. They are committed to making this estate one of the best in Rutherford, Napa Valley, and the world.

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Staff Image By: Kaj Stromer | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/8/2018 | Send Email
As soon as I put the glass to my nose, I immediately got a sense of the pedigree of this wine. After my first taste, my initial impressions were confirmed. The tell tale Rutherford dust was front and center. This winery may not be on your radar but it sits squarely in the heart of Napa Valley’s finest terrior. Located between Oakville and St. Helena, Rutherford is hallowed ground for lovers of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. Under new ownership in 2018, the Sullivan Estate is on its way to reaching its full potential. In order to help generate some buzz, the winery has bestowed upon us the enviable opportunity to sell their 2015 Rutherford Estate Cabernet at a special introductory price. We were delighted to get the chance and took as much of the wine as they would offer. Buy what you can because you’re never going to see this wine at this price again! As for the wine, I was particularly impressed by its seamless quality. It’s nicely packed with fresh picked ripe berries and compote. There’s good textural appeal with ripe and round tannins framing the long polished finish. While approachable now, this will benefit from a touch of age. This is a great selection for holiday gift giving or serving at one of your many holiday dinners.

Staff Image By: Keith Mabry | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 11/7/2018 | Send Email
The Sullivan Cabernet is such a powerful wine it evokes many memories. Located in the Rutherford district the winery is among the company of the historic greats like Inglenook, Caymus and Del Dotto. But the style of the wine reminds me of the some of my favorite super-boutique producers from the late 90s and early 2000s like Behren's & Hitchcock and Pride Mountain. The Sullivan is at first sumptuous and lush with the mouthfeel and concentration of those top producers. The wine delivers full-force and the flavors roll accross the palate in waves ranging from cassis and creme de mure (blackberry) ultimately reaching a crescendo of Tahitian vanilla and dried sage. The finish goes on for minutes. At almost half it's original price it stands over everything else in its class right now and is a wonderful walk down memory lane.

Additional Information:


Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.