Each week I pick out one wine to highlight as my wine of the week.  This wine may be an outstanding wine, a great value or just something very interesting.



Rudius Logo2




Checking my e-mail history shows I joined the Rudius mailing list July 29, 2008.  I placed my first order on July 30, 2008.  It took me a day to place my first order for 6 bottles of their Syrah wines because I had a problem signing into the system.  As a new mailing list member, I was too impatient for the winery to send me the offer and my signin information.  They quickly supplied me the info to get into the system and I placed the order before receiving the descriptions of the wines being offered.


I haven’t looked back, generally grabbing a few bottles of whatever they offer.


I highly recommend checking out the winery and getting on their waiting list.  Did I forget to mention this is a top notch winery and it looks like their mailing list if filled.  I don’t know how long it will take to move off of the waiting list onto the mailing list, but it will be worth the wait.



The Winery – Jeff and Brittany’s Story

Rudius is the ancient Roman word for a wooden sword that was used by soldiers and gladiators during their training.  Traditionally, a rudius was given to gladiators when they had won their freedom from the arena.  Winemaker Jeff Ames views his own project as freedom to pursue his style of winemaking, after working on other labels over the past years.


In their words

Growing up in Memphis and Mobile, Alabama in a family of lawyers, the thought of becoming a winemaker never occurred to Jeff Ames.  But after deciding not to pursue his law degree, a part time job in a local wine shop in Memphis sparked his passion for wine.  Soon after, in 1998, Jeff moved to Oregon on a whim—with no guarantee of a job—and lucked out when Lynn Penner-Ash gave him his first harvest job at Rex Hill.  What started as a much-needed mental break from his Masters program, soon turned into an exciting new career.  After harvest, Jeff couldn’t get enough of the wine business, and made the big move to the Napa Valley in 1999.  After bouncing around the industry from tasting room jobs at Freemark Abbey, Flora Springs and Duckhorn, to freelance writing for Decanter Magazine, to sales at WineBid, Jeff finally got the break he was waiting for.  In 2001, he was able to return to production—the side of the industry he has always loved most—when he became Thomas Brown’s assistant winemaker at brands including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor.


Two short years later, he took over as head winemaker at Tor, where he continues to make extraordinary wines from some of California’s most notable vineyards.  Everything really came together for Jeff in 2005, when, after years of penny-pinching, he finally achieved his ultimate goal of starting his own wine brand—Rudius Wines.  And the result, my friends, is what you have in your cellar!



Even though she grew up in the Napa Valley, Brittany Savory Ames never thought she would wind up working in the wine industry.  When Jeff and Britt met in 2007, she was following her life-long passion—competing professionally in three-day eventing—and taking a much-needed break from pursuing a career in finance.  After working the 2008 harvest with Jeff, Britt was eager to put her Economics and Mathematics degrees to work again by taking over all business and sales responsibilities for Rudius that year.  Their complementary passions for winemaking and commerce have since helped Jeff and Britt transform Rudius from a small passion project into a well-regarded brand with a loyal following.  Together, they continue to develop their portfolio, adding a Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay and several old vine Rhone bottlings to the Rudius lineup over the past few years.  With this team’s endless passion for making and sharing great wine, there is no doubt that Rudius will continue to turn out exciting offerings for years to come.


For additional information or to get on the winery’s waiting list, please click here.



Hudson Vineyard


2013 Rudius Rosé – $28.00

This wine is a 50/50 blend of Syrah and Grenache.


The two were fermented apart and then blended before bottling.  Fermented in all VERY used wood to eliminate any actual wood flavors (newest barrel was from ’08).  It was not cold stabilized so there will be tartrates if it gets cold enough for long enough.  They produced 50 cases and  may or may not do it again.


Per Jeff – It is nice that folks seem to have really liked it.


The wine has 13.8% alcohol by volume and the stunning looking bottle is sealed with a natural cork.


My Tasting Note

The wine is a bright salmon pink color.  The crisp and fresh nose has cherries, stony minerals, spice, watermelon, white peaches, white pepper and orange blossoms.  This has medium body with crisp acidity.  Cherries and peach jump out initially on the palate with minerals and watermelon coming in later.  The finish has very good length with spice, white pepper and a floral note taking center stage.  As rosé wines go, this one is pretty serious.  This is made to pair with food, not really to pop and pour and drink on its own.  This is serious enough that it tasted much better a few hours after opening, a few months in the cellar or some time in a decanter will be rewarded.  (93 pts)

2013 Rudius Rose

2013 Rudius Rose




Connect with me

You can follow me on Twitter for more wine info, potential food pairings, and an occasional recipe or two.  Be warned, I’m also a sports fan and there are occasional Pittsburgh Penguins, Steelers, and Pirates tweets.  I attended the University of South Carolina, so during football season, there will also be some Gamecock posts.


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This is original to CliffsWinePicks.com.  Copyright 2014 Cliff’s Wine Picks.

All rights reserved.




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Here is a link to a YouTube video of me getting “coal” from Santa for being named the “Nicest Person in Social Media” in 2012.






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Notes – I use the “official” Cellar Tracker name for the wines.  I use Cellar Tracker to help manage and organize my cellar.  I highly recommend checking it out at www.cellartracker.com.  Loading you existing cellar is a lot less intimidating than it would first appear.  There is a good chance 99% of your wine is already in the system, so you generally only need to enter part of the wine’s name and the system will find it for you.



Prices noted are the prices I paid at the time of purchase.  I don’t shop around to find the best prices, but my local store is usually VERY competitive.  I generally get case discounts, and since I work there part time, I get a 5% discount.  Wines purchased direct from a winery do not include any shipping charges.  None of the prices include the sales tax.



All wines that were sent to me free of charge to sample will be noted and I will show suggested prices when available.