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Quintessa is comprised of a total of 280 acres of which 170 acres are planted to the classic Bordeaux grape varieties in 26 vineyard blocks as follows: Cabernet Sauvignon (129 acres), Merlot (26 acres), Cabernet Franc (7 acres), Petit Verdot (4 acres), and Carmenere (4 acres). The estate includes a valley, a lake, a river; five hills, four microclimates, and many soil types, as well as rich flora and fauna. The diversity of exposure, elevation, and microclimate and soil type produces 40 very different wines lots from the 26 different vineyard blocks. We believe the diversity of the property (Valleys, Terraces, Hilltops, Foothills and Riverside) contribute to the high quality and uniqueness of the fruit.

Originally part of the Caymus land grant, the property was purchased in the 1940s by George Mardikian, a high profile San Francisco restaurateur, owner of the renowned Omar Khayyam restaurant. Mardikian had grand plans for the property and believed it's destiny was to be a premium wine estate. George Mardikian died in the early 1980s never having fulfilled his dream.

The combination of the property's size, beauty and location in the heart of one of the world's greatest appellations, Rutherford, created a speculative frenzy among potential buyers. From the time of his death until the final sale in 1990, many prestigious vintners in the Napa Valley attempted to buy the property, several getting as far as escrow, without success.

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The Rutherford appellation, or Rutherford Viticultural Area, lies in the heart of the Napa Valley and covers about six square miles between Oakville and St. Helena with a total of 3300 vineyard acres. It is bordered on the west and east by two mountain ranges, but does not extend above 500 feet in elevation. The soils are made of three alluvial fans and are primarily gravelly, sandy and loamy. The fans are formed from shattered, well-bedded sandstone, and their deposits are high in gravels. Deep and well-drained, the fans have pockets that allow run off to easily flow to the streams of the Napa River. Rutherford soils are dominated by the Franciscan marine sedimentary materials with some volcanic deposits primarily Bale, Pleasanton and Yolo loams.

Sun exposure is one of Rutherford's more unusual aspects, as the area has a higher radiant value than other parts of Napa Valley. Because it is located at Napa Valley's widest point, it spends more time in the sun. UC Davis categorizes Rutherford as a Region II, with over 3,000-degree days during the growing season. The climate of Rutherford is typically mild, although spring can bring freezing temperatures at night during March and April. Warm summer days ripen the grapes, and give way to cool evenings. An average summer day may cool down as many as 12 degrees F after the sun sets, allowing the fruit to ripen at a steady pace. Rutherford has an average rainfall of 26 to 36 inches per year.

James Laube writes of Rutherford in his book, California Wine, "Cabernet performs exceptionally well here, as there is an ideal mixture of cool mornings and evenings, and warm, sunny days, usually ripening the grapes fully and quite easily. The result is an abundance of rich currant, plum and cherry flavors with herb, mint and spice notes, and fine but substantial tannins. Because of those supple tannins, most Rutherford wines are showy early on. But they often have the richness, depth and concentration to age well for 15-30 years, sometimes even longer."

Historically, Rutherford has been at the forefront of quality in the Napa Valley. Wine industry pioneers such as Gustave Niebaum and Georges de Latour chose Rutherford over all other locations. The former developed Inglenook here in 1880 - today Neibaum-Coppola - and the latter began Beaulieu Vineyards with the purchase of a four-acre parcel in 1900. The legendary Andre Tchelistcheff, who joined Beaulieu as an enologist in 1935 and went on to be recognized as one of the world's great winemakers, was first to observe the uniqueness of Rutherfords soils. Although Rutherford offers a multitude of microclimates and soil types, wines produced from the grapes grown here reflect a distinct Rutherford character. Tchelistcheff stated it best, "It takes Rutherford dust to grow great Cabernet." And today, world class Cabernet Sauvignon is what Rutherford is known for. Among the more notable producers are Caymus, Joseph Phelps, Niebaum-Coppola, Hewitt, and of course Quintessa.