Mention cabernet and chardonnay in the same breath, and the conversation invariably turns to the likes of California’s Sonoma, Russian River, and Napa Valley wines. That said, of late, I’ve been experimenting with wines from Lodi—historically known as a region of grape growers, but now home to an ever-growing number of wineries that bottle everything from pinot noir to albarino.

It’s a 2013 cabernet sauvignon from Rutting Ridge Cellars that has really caught my attention. This six-year-old, $30 cabernet drinks like a bottle worth twice the price. Fruit, oak, and vanilla notes burst in your mouth and finish like velvet. And if your go-to wine is chardonnay, Rutting Ridge produces that, too: fruit-forward, fresh, and clean, with flavors of apples and melon. Both varietals pair very nicely with a number of types of wild game and fish, including elk and venison, duck and turkey, and a wide range of fish dishes.

Rutting Ridge’s cabernet and chardonnay both come from the Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA). This region, located 60 miles east of San Francisco, is impacted by dramatic day-to-night temperature changes of up to 40°F. The result is incredibly ripe fruit that makes classic wines of great intensity.

Rutting Ridge wines may be purchased online and delivered directly to your doorstep. And best of all, for every bottle sold, Rutting Ridge Cellars donates $3 to benefit the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation’s wildlife and habitat conservation efforts. A great wine for a great cause!

~By Kent Huffman
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Kent Huffman is the Editor-in-Chief for Wildlife Enthusiast Magazine. Kent is an avid fisherman, hunter, and wildlife conservationist. He also serves his clients as a fractional Chief Marketing Officer, specializing in building successful brands, creating unique customer experiences, constructing proprietary “marketing machines,” and driving profitable growth. Kent has won numerous awards and honors from Forbes, Adweek, CEO World Magazine, Brand Quarterly Magazine, Social Media Marketing Magazine, the CMO Club, TCU’s Neeley School of Business, and the World Marketing Congress for his accomplishments as a marketer.