Anointed an American Viticultural Area in 1992, Napa's Rutherford Bench had been identified by wine writers and vintners for more than 50 years by its distinctive "Rutherford dust" qualities. Trinchero's Chicken Ranch Merlot was fermented in the rack-and-return method where the juice was drained to another tank then splashed back over the cap in the first tank allowing more thorough maceration, greater flavor extraction, softer tannins and enhanced color. An elegant wine with complex aromas of ripe cherry, raspberry and cedar, followed by spice and berry flavors on the palate. A great accompaniment to veal chops,
beef daube and roast duck. Available at Dorignac's, Habano's in Slidell and Hugh's Wine in Mandeville.