Inglenook Rubicon (375ML half-bottle) 2016
Ideal harvest conditions endowed the 2016 Rubicon with the three elements associated with a truly great wine from the Rutherford appellation: complexity, balance, and elegance. The aromas are intense and focused with top notes of creamy, sweet vanilla, and black licorice wound around a core of exquisitely ripe black cherry and crème de cassis. This refinement extends directly to the palate, where the wine is both broad and deep with sensuous, silky tannins. Supremely balanced in terms of both opulence and complexity, ripe black fruits and an ultra-smooth texture provide an impressive crescendo to a very long finish.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
This is a powerful and structured red with full body, focused and polished tannins and a long and flavorful finish. It’s very close to the great 2013. A blend of 93 per cent cabernet sauvignon and seven per cent cabernet franc. Needs three or four years to come around.
The flagship 2016 Rubicon checks in as 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc, and there are close to 4,000 cases produced. This deep purple-hued beauty boasts a stunning nose of blackcurrants, tobacco leaf, cedarwood, and lead pencil shavings as well as even a hint of iron. These carry to a full-bodied 2016 that has terrific dept of fruit, solid mid-palate concentration, building tannins, and a great finish. This is a classic, age-worthy Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that will benefit from 7-8 years of bottle age and keep for 3 decades.
Blended of 93% Cabernet Sauvignon and 7% Cabernet Franc, the deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicon gives up bold notions of crushed red and black currants, wild blueberries and blackberry preserves with touches of violets, dark chocolate, cardamom and bay leaves plus a hint of unsmoked cigars. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals great elegance and depth, with a beautiful line of finely grained tannins and amazing freshness, finishing long and layered.
In 2010 there was a change of winemaker at Rubicon, and the new arrival was Philippe Bascaules from Château Margaux. He soon made changes that were, one assumes, aimed at bringing more elegance and less density to the wine. This is certainly apparent here - the nose is ripe and vibrant, with intense mint and blackberry aromas that display purity of fruit and well-judged oak. Suave and polished, it shows finer tannins than the 2006, and enough acidity to give punch and persistence. It has a drier finish than most Napa Cabernets, which often have a sweetness that may be derived from high alcohol. So, there's a welcome austerity here and this will age well.
This is an intriguingly feral, herbal and classically styled wine, dripping in sage, toasted oak and wrap-around tannin. Cranberry, clove and cassis form a tangle of nuanced, graceful flavor nestled within a core of impressive structure. This is one to put away for awhile.
When Philippe Bascaules arrived at Inglenook in 2011, the estate’s Cask Cabernet was defined by its red-fruit character while Rubicon was defined by black fruit. He preferred to focus on the wine’s texture. Now commuting between Rutherford and Château Margaux, where he had worked for two decades with Paul Pontallier, he has changed the viticultural practice at Inglenook. In 2016, Rubicon is neither red nor black—in fact, it’s more blueberry in flavor. But what sets it apart is the plump, polished, mineral texture. As a young wine, it’s shy, gentle, finely structured cabernet, with no rough edges. There’s a sense of certainty, however, that such a wine, from a team secure enough to present it without youthful fanfare, will evolve to express the detail and complexity of this vineyard, its track record proven for more than a century. It’s a different way to think about Napa Valley cabernet.
A savory hint leads the way, followed quickly by ample red currant and blackberry fruit flavors. Tobacco and freshly plowed earth accents score the finish, where the savory element lingers. Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.
A decade later, Francis Ford Coppola purchased 1,500 acres of this historic property and revived Captain Niebaum's fine winemaking tradition. In 1995, Niebaum-Coppola acquired the remainder of the property and restored the Inglenook Estate to its original dimensions.
The Rutherford sub-region of Napa Valley centers on the town of Rutherford and covers some of Napa Valley’s finest vineyard real estate, spanning from the Mayacamas in the west, to the Vaca Mountains on the other side of the valley.
Inside of the Rutherford AVA, bordering the Mayacamas, is a stretch of uplands called the Rutherford Bench. (These bench lands technically run the length of Oakville as well). Mountain runoff creates deep, well-drained, alluvial soils on the bench, giving vine roots plenty of reason to permeate deep into the ground. The result is wine with great structure and complexity.
Rutherford Cabernet Sauvingons and Bordeaux Blends garner substantial attention for their enticing fragrances of dusty earth and dried herbs, broad and juicy mid-palates and lush and fine-grained tannins. The sub-appellation claims some of the valley’s most prized vineyards today, namely Caymus, Rubicon and Beckstoffer Georges III.
It is also home to Napa’s most influential and historic personalities. Thomas Rutherford, responsible for the appellation's name, made serious investments here in grape growing and wine production between the years of 1850 to 1880. Gustave Niebaum purchased a large swath of land and completed his winery in 1887, calling it “Inglenook.” Today this remains the oldest bonded winery in California. Georges Latour founded Beaulieu Vineyard in 1900, making it the oldest continuous winery in the state. Latour also hired the famous enologist, André Tchelistcheff, a man credited for single-handedly defining the modern Napa winemaking style.
One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, the best of these are densely hued, fragrant, full of fruit and boast a structure that begs for cellar time. Somm Secret—Blends from Bordeaux are generally earthier compared to those from the New World, which tend to be fruit-dominant.