When Francis Ford Coppola set out to make a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon wine he decided to seek inspiration from Roman history in naming it Rubicon, taking inspiration from Caesar’s march on Rome in which “crossing the Rubicon” implied “the point of no return.”
Rubicon is now the flagship wine of the Inglenook Estate and all the fruit for it is organically grown on the property. Immense care goes into the selection of only the finest grapes, and an array of techniques are used in the vinification process to bring out the most subtle and elegant characteristics of that fruit. After fermentation in barrel the wine spends 18 months in a combination of new and 1-yearold French oak barriques before bottling.
The growing season in 2008 was characterised by a dry winter and a spring frost, which reduced the size of the crop but imbued the grapes with significant concentration. A warm summer created perfect ripeness and the result is a wine of great density, hugely concentrated but with wonderful aromatic precision and great finesse despite its weighty profile.
The quality of the tannins is particularly noteworthy; they are there in abundance but are so fine that they create almost a velvet feel on the palate. The bouquet shows wonderfully ripe aromas of black cherry, cassis and blueberry. On the palate there is great opulence of black fruit with notes of mocha and spice, and the finish is extraordinarily long and harmonious.
Alun Griffiths MW, BBR Wine Director
87% Cabernet Sauvignon,6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, 3% Merlot Inglenook
The 2008 Rubicon is an attractive, fleshy wine laced with dark red cherries, spices and flowers. It is a soft, supple wine to drink now and over the next few years while the fruit retains its generous, radiant personality. The blend is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot and 3% Merlot. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.
The re-born Inglenook is one of the most fascinating stories unfolding in Napa Valley. Over the years Francis Ford Coppola has pieced together many of the vineyards that were part of the original Inglenook estate, where many benchmark Cabernets were made during the winery’s heyday in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. A few years ago Coppola brought on renowned Bordeaux consultant Stephane Derenoncourt to oversee the vineyards.
One of Derenoncourt’s first decisions was to gradually move the vineyards to dry farming. Earlier this year, Philippe Bascaules joined the team from Chateau Margaux, where he was the Estate Manager. While it will take some time for the new team to have a real influence on quality, there is now no reason not to expect these wines to improve significantly. The last piece of the puzzle was Coppola’s purchase of the Inglenook brand itself, which will allow Coppola to return the estate to its original name.
(Antonio Galloni - Wine Advocate #198 Dec 2011 )