Inglenook Rubicon 2015
|Region||California, Napa Valley, Rutherford|
From the esteemed producer's gorgeous estate, including 3% Merlot, this is impressive and structured-a leathery, viscous and concentrated expression of a great site in an intense vintage. Gunpowder, oak and black-cherry compote form around brightly captured acidity and a lasting fistful of baking spice that lingers and softens the finish.
A blend of 97% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Merlot, the 2015 Rubicon is slightly deeper in color than the 2014 and offers a deeper, more concentrated, yet slightly compact style that's common in this vintage. Blackcurrants, scorched earth, cedary spice, leafy herbs and licorice all flow to a ripe, beautifully concentrated, deep wine that needs 5-7 years of cellaring and will make for incredible drinking over the following 15+ years.
Wine & Spirits
Philippe Bascuales worked for two decades with Paul Pontallier at Chateau Margaux before coming to Inglenook in 2011 (since Pontallier passed away this past spring, Bascuales has returned to Chateau Margaux, and is now directing both the Bordeaux property and this Rutherford estate). The pace at which he has transformed the wines is nothing less than astonishing, as if the force of this great Napa Valley site had been waiting to be unleashed. It’s not that the wines were troubled in recent vintages; more that they followed the contemporary Napa Valley story of quality being the pinnacle achievement. The 2008, for example, was “sweet, firm and juicy,” with tannins that cushioned the fruit, earning 93 points when I tasted it for the magazine. Bascaules has begun to bring back the voice of the property, a collection of vineyards in the western benchlands of Rutherford, reassembled by Francis Ford Coppola in the pattern of Gustave Niebaum’s original estate. This is the kind of land that made Napa Valley famous. And this is the kind of wine I want to drink. It has the freshness of ripe cabernet sauvignon, with none of the darker, dimpled tones of hyperripe fruit, presenting a delicate red berry scent and the gracious refinement of Rutherford tannins. Some of our tasters reacted to the new oak on the wine, the touch of creaminess French oak brings to the texture, even as they admitted that it was handled with restraint and that the wine showed some tension. The oak is not an issue for me, as the youthful fruit sings through any vessel used to age it, with the message of great vintages to come.
The aromas of tar, spice, black currant, blueberry and cedar follow through to a full body with ultra-polished tannins and pointed flavors. Exceptional balance and finesse. Better in 2019 but already gorgeous..
The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicon is gorgeous. Dark red cherries, plums, licorice and leather blossom as this rich, resonant wine opens up in the glass. Pliant and super-expressive, yet very much medium in body, the 2012 will drink beautifully for the next 10-15 years, perhaps longer. The polished, refined finish makes it hard to resist a second taste.
This has an alluring beam of creamed raspberry and boysenberry fruit rolling through, laced with warmed red licorice, toasted vanilla and cedar hints. Has weight but comes off as stylish in the end. Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Drink now through 2030.
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