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2012 Inglenook, Rubicon, Rutherford, Napa Valley
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Inglenook was established in the top-rated Rutherford appellation in Napa Valley in 1879 by a Finnish sea captain, Gustave Niebaum. After a chequered history, which included the winery shutting down during prohibition, the estate regained its original reputation for producing very fine wine during the 1940s when it was owned by John Daniel.
In 1975 film director Francis Ford Coppola purchased the majority of the acreage under vine, using his profits from The Godfather films. He named the wines made during his ownership Niebaum Coppola, and in 1995 purchased the totality of the estate.
Finally, in 2008, Coppola was able to purchase the trademark of Inglenook, and announced that from that moment onwards the wines would all once again be known by their original name of Inglenook. The first such release was the 2008 vintage. The consulting oenologist here is the celebrated Stephane Derenencourt, who has done so much to refine the production in a clutch of top-class Bordeaux chateaux.
The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.
It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.
The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.