**Top 100 Cellar Selections of 2009** Made from 98% Cabernet Sauvignon, with no Merlot or Cabernet Franc for the first time, the ’05 Rubicon tastes bigger and more impenetrable than any previous vintage. It’s thick and heavy at this time, with furry tannins and undeniably ripe flavors of blackberries, black currants, cherries, violets, chocolate and cedar, and a tang of melted minerals. Desperately needs time in the cellar. Nowhere near ready for at least four years, and that may be conservative.Tasted three times, and better each time, a seriously good sign, and potentially a perfect wine.
Its altogether compelling aromas of concentrated cassis, careful oak and distinctive 'Rutherford dust' spice immediately signal that something special is going on here, and this head-turning wine more than follows through on its promise with genuinely layered, exceptionally deep flavors whose immense and incisive varietal fruit is met by a broad range of complexing spice, oak and loam elements. Big, balanced and appropriately tannic, this year's Rubicon is years away from reaching its full potential and is very much meant for the cellar.
Francis Ford Coppola, the famous director, purchased Inglenook Wine Estate. The 2005 Proprietary Red Rubicon is a stunner from the famous estate vineyards first planted by Gustave Niebaum more than 100 years ago. Dense ruby/purple, the wine reveals classic, almost Graves-like scorched earth and volcanic notes mixed with blackberry, cassis and iron. Full-bodied, fresh and lively, with luscious, rich fruit, a good, heady glycerin level (14.8% alcohol) and well-integrated acidity, wood and tannin, this beauty is set for another two decades of evolution. (RP)
Supple-textured, ripe, rich and fleshy, with spice, currant, black cherry and wild berry fruit that's well-proportioned, drinking easily already. Firms up nicely on the finish, where the tannins have just the right touch of grip. (JL)
From Gustave Niebaum's historic Inglenook estate, reassembled and renovated by Francis Ford Coppola as Rubicon Estate, this wine is grown organically and made by Scott McLeod, the estate managed by Larry Stone, MS. It's a powerful team, and they often produce one of the top Cabernets in Napa Valley. This vintage is heady and plump, with the black fruit character McLeod selects for the blend and substantial tannins for such a big, soft wine. Right now, it's deliciously rich and chocolatey, a forward vintage that seems ready to drink. The tannins give it more cut and complexity with a day of air. Cellar it to let the terroir expression develop.
Real edge and energy to the nose of this mature wine. Luscious without being over the top. Clearly from a very fine vineyard. Chock full of character. 17/20 points. Drink 2010-2025. (JR)
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1997 Beaulieu Vineyard "Georges de Latour" Private Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
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