Your humble wine sleuth has previously confessed to being a fan of the Napa Valley “Rutherford Dust” said to be from the terrior of certain Valley Floor grapes harvested in Rutherford. I was fortunate to have the recent opportunity to travel to Napa Valley and sample the offerings of Round Pond Estate which included the delightful Round Pond Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2013. Round Pond Estate is located within walking distance of several notable Rutherford neighbors, including Beaulieu Vineyards, Peju Provence and Caymus, to name a few, so fans of those world class Big Reds should definitely take note of this vineyard’s wines. Although arguably lesser known than some of its Napa Valley floor neighbors, Round Pond Estate has been delivering some terrific Cabs and Cab blends over the past several years, including its own highly acclaimed Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, which was awarded an impressive 92 by Wine Spectator. However, the Round Pond employees I spoke with felt that the 2013 Rutherford Cab would ultimately be judged superior to the 2012 vintage, and they have convinced me that they may just have a point. Unlike many Napa producers that add Merlot to their Cabernet Savs for roundness, Round Pond instead opted to blend a healthy dollup of Petit Verdot (19%) and Malbec (4%) to the estate Cab Sav (77%). However, the lush Napa Valley bench fruit blend in this Big Red was both robust and approachable even at a young age. Besides the balanced, elegant tastes of oak, baking spice, blackberry and cassis and the finish that seemed to go on for over a minute, one of the best things about the Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cab 2013 was the reasonable price when compared to its more well known neighbors. Retailing at approximately $59 (have you priced a Caymus Cab lately?), the Round Pond 2013 is a relative value in today’s stratospheric Napa Valley Cab prices. What do the experts think? Anthony Galloni of Vinous simply stated “Round Pond’s 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is fabulous. Aromatic, pliant and expressive, the 2013 is incredibly nuanced for such a young wine,” while awarding the wine a stellar 92 rating. Robert Parker of Wine Advocate called the 2013 Round Pond Cab “a beauty,” adding that the wine is “…also realistically priced by Napa standards…reveals toasty oak, blackberry and cassis fruit, beautiful texture, purity and length. This is a big-time winner and should drink well for 12-15 years.” Looking for a new Big Reg to splurge on without breaking your monthly wine budget? Look no further than the Round Pond Estate Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon 2013!