Mon 16 Mar 2009
… no, ha ha, I don’t mean rude whites — you can find them in most bars, and in many Southern states, they’ll be packing heat legally — no, I mean two white wines from Rued Vineyards and Winery in Sonoma County. The name is pronounced “ru-ed.” The family began growing grapes in the Russian River Valley since 1882 and in the Alexander Valley since 1905. Prohibition took the Rueds in the direction of apples, pears and prunes, returning to grapes, in Dry Creek Valley, in 1957. The winery itself was founded in 2004. The owners are Tom and Dee Rued; co-winemakers are their son Steve and his wife Sonia.
These white wines are instantly likable, and I don’t mean that they’re glib or facile, but that they express with immediacy the charming and authentic characters of the grapes from which they were made. Quantities are limited, so mark this pair Worth a Search.
One sniff of the Rued Sauvignon Blanc 2007, Dry Creek Valley, draws you in, with its wreathing of fresh lime and tangerine and grapefruit, its hints of dried thyme and tarragon and a back-note of cookie dough. Notably clean and fresh, almost effervescent in nature, the wine offers pear and peach flavors inflected with leafy fig, jasmine and — way down inside — a joyful snap of caraway. The mineral element teeters between slate and limestone — think of the difference between damp roof tiles and damp gravel — while crisp acidity guarantees liveliness. Irresistible for drinking through the end of 2009. Production was 642 cases. Very Good+. About $16, a Great Bargain.
The hallmark of the Rued Chardonnay 2007, Russian River Valley, is a thrilling sense of balance between classic ripe, spicy apple, pineapple and grapefruit flavors (that could so easily dominate the wine) and a factor of scintillating acidity and vibrant minerality that is almost rigorous. The wine is like a microcosm of the integration of power and elegance, so as you’re thinking, “Wow, this is so bright, so bold, so flirtatious in its spicy toastiness,” you’re also thinking, “Man, this is so clean, so pure and intense, so finely detailed.” The combination of all these elements produces a wonderful texture, vivid and lean yet close to plush, and mainly thoroughly alive in the mouth. Drink though 2010 or ’11. Production was 881 cases. Excellent, and Great Value for the price, about $18.