In 1975, Francis Ford Coppola purchased the historic Inglenook property, intent on restoring the estate’s legacy of creating world-class wines equal to those that founder Gustave Niebaum and his grandnephew John Daniel Jr. made for decades. Rubicon, the estate’s flagship wine since 1978, is produced from the best estate grown fruit, including the historic Gustave Niebaum Cabernet Sauvignon selection, which was first planted on the property in the 1880s.
By all accounts, 2011 was a difficult vintage. Chilly spring temperatures and heavy rains delayed bud break, and crops were reduced significantly on account of the weather. The rains were also responsible for the lower alcohol-level this vintage. But, there was a silver lining: having less fruit intensified flavor concentration and phenolics in the grape clusters that remained. This year’s Rubicon is showing very complex aromas and a well-balanced flavor profile, which speaks to the estate’s ability to produce a quality wine despite what others would normally consider a bad vintage.
Our most recent tasting of the 2011 Rubicon revealed a complex nose that includes notes of graphite, dark red currants, and a floral potpourri of dried rose petals with hints of allspice. This wine demonstrates a refined richness, yet its intensity does not weigh down the palate. The flavors exude a freshness, complemented by nice acidity. Impressions of juicy dark cherries, tobacco, and currants are most prevalent, while notes of spices, tea leaves, and an intriguing earthy quality create a more rugged wine that is very expressive of its unique terroir. The wine’s essence is further enhanced by fine-grained tannins, which support an elegant structure and refined finish that boasts deep aromatic notes of espresso.
Appellation: Rutherford, Napa Valley
Ensemble: Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot
Vineyard: Cask, Walnut 94/96, Gio, Upper Garden, Creek, Gate
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