Massively concentrated, dense, plush, but surprisingly light on its feet, filled with a heady mix of creamy blackberry, black cherry, and black raspberry preserves
Jeff worked a memorable harvest under Lynn Penner-Ash in Oregon, but then found the winery couldn’t support him full-time. Always hustling, Ames applied for a job at Wine Spectator’s tasting department — James Laube remembered his “knowledge and passion for wine,” and “figured he would go on to bigger and better things, which he did” — but didn’t land it.
Ames went back to Memphis to reclaim his old job at a wine shop. He saved up. Then, in 1999, he bid farewell to the birthplace of rock ‘n’ roll and drove to the American epicenter of wine. In Napa Valley, Thomas Rivers Brown, author of numerous 100 point wines, gave him a job helping make wine for Rivers Brown’s clients. Those clients were and are a who’s who of Napa Cabernet: Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor Kenwood. By the time Ames was 31, he was the full-time winemaker for Tor Kenwood.
In 2005, Jeff Ames sold the house he lived in to fund a new project: Rudius. Ever since, Ames has been on a tear. In 2012 and 2013, Ames placed five Cabernet Sauvignons in Robert Parker’s coveted 94- to 96+ point range, including a high-water mark of 96+ points for this 2013 Cabernet named for his daughter, Kayley Elizabeth.
WineAccess members don’t really need a reintroduction to Napa’s 2013 vintage, but indulge us for a moment. You’ll recall Parker’s now-famous headline for his 2013 vintage report: “The Game Changer.” You’ll recall the critic who’s been calling the tune for Napa’s wines or four decades describing 2013 as the “finest vintage I have experienced in tasting North Coast varietals over the last 37 years.” The second straight drought year featured near-perfect conditions, with notably consistent warm temperatures from budbreak to harvest and no heat spikes. The resulting wines, Parker wrote in that seminal Wine Advocate vintage report, are “powerful, rich and concentrated, extremely well-delineated, and will be extremely long-lived, eclipsing even the aging potential of the 2012s.”
The 2013 Rudius “Kaley Elizabeth” Cabernet Sauvignon presents like the Platonic ideal of what Parker was talking about. Iconic Cabernet Clone 7 vines, rooted in the eastern hills of Oakville just above the Silverado Trail, have been snaking their way through brick-red clay soils since 1988. The BB-sized berries Ames harvested in 2013 have become, in bottle, a simply stunning wine, what Parker called a “beauty” of “multilayered, deep, powerful, concentrated” complexity.
Opaque purple stains the glass, while decadent and dense black-fruit aromas leap from the glass, infused with a mouthwatering mix of violets, cassis, and lofty sweet oak aromas. Massively concentrated, dense, plush, but surprisingly light on its feet, filled with a heady mix of creamy blackberry, black cherry, and black raspberry preserves, doused with sweet crème de cassis, supported by chocolaty fine-grained tannins and ample acidity and finishing long. Parker says this one is poised to cellar for “35-40+ years,” and we’re not going to argue!
Elsewhere: $135. We landed 20 cases for WineAccess members — at least those fast enough to the draw. At $115 per bottle today — once again, the best price in America! — but if and when Ames’ wines keep impressing critics like Parker, who knows how high the Rudius prices will be valued over their four decades of cellar life. Shipping included on all orders. This is special.
Fantastic wine. Outstanding. Deep dark, nearly black in color. Full of dark berries, rich and dense, smooth tannins frame the fruit. Long lasting.
Since most of my wines are in the $40-60, I couldn't resist trying this wine. I blind tasted it, as my partner grabbed a bottle without my knowing what it was. WOW! It was so delightful that I rushed over to see what I was drinking. Personally, I felt it was better without food. Sediment in the bottle placed little specks on my pearly whites. Not good for a first date! Frankly, the Sueno Profundo is better, to me, as are some of the other wines I have purchased; however, I really can't go wrong with any of your wine specials.
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