Drink 2021 - 2028
Jane Anson, Decanter.com (Sept 2021)
James Suckling, jamessuckling.com (Feb 2021)
About this WINE
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.
White Rhône Blend
In the north, the white wines of Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St-Joseph, and St-Péray are produced from blends of Marsanne and Roussanne. Generally Marsanne is the dominant partner and it lends colour, body and weight to the blend, as well as richly scented fruit. Roussanne, a notoriously low yielder and pernickety to grow, produces intensely aromatic wines which contribute bouquet, delicacy and finesse to the blend.
Until about 15 years ago there was very little interest in southern Rhône whites as it was widely believed that the combination of dull non aromatic grapes and the baking summer heat meant quality wine production was nigh impossible. Since then the quality has improved markedly through the introduction of cool fermentation techniques and increased plantings of northern Rhône white grapes.
The base of many blends is still Grenache Blanc, a widely planted variety producing fresh wines with apple-like fruits, often with hints of aniseed. Ugni Blanc is still found in many blends, as is Clairette though their general lack of character and definition has led to a reduction in plantings. The future for southern Rhône whites appears to lie with Roussanne, Marsanne, and, increasingly, Viognier.