Fragrant, showing cascades of violets, caramelized new oak, sweet cherry pie, cocoa and cassis aromas. In the mouth, it’s unctuous, and floods the palate with sweet, savory flavors. Has a youthful jamminess right now, which will melt off and refine as time goes by. Such is the elegance and balance that cellaring it for 20 years will be no problem. This is the best Rubicon ever. *Cellar Selection*
Perhaps the best vintage of Rubicon to date, this wine grows at one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon sites in Napa Valley, on the Rutherford benchlands first planted by William C. Watson in 1871, before 19th-century shipping magnate Gustav Neibaum selected the land for his own ambitious estate. Now it belongs to Francis Ford Coppola, who spent the last 30 years reassembling what is now a 1,700-acre property. Winemaker Scott McLeod uses heavily toasted French oak the way he would if he were making a first growth in Bordeaux, and here the fruit lives up to the barrels. The wine has an internal energy; it feels bursting with life, in bloom. The dark fruit is at once luscious and beautifully formed, the flavor lasting for minutes. A genuine expression of place.
Rubicon has never been noted for wines of immediacy or early charm and so again does this latest fit expectation. It is a solid, serious, some-what backward wine at this point of its life, but it conveys great richness, strength and fruity depth from beginning to end. Its involving themes of black currants, loamy soil, minerals and oak are blunted by ample tannins, yet fruit fights its way through with the message that those who are willing to wait for six to ten years will find real rewards. *Two Stars*
Dark ruby-red. Aroma of roasted plum, chocolate, mocha, fennel and mustard seed. Juicy and intense, with a restrained sweetness to the rather suave flavors of black cherry and black cherry. Finishes with firm, chalky tannins and very good length. (ST)
Niebaum-Coppola’s rustic styled 2002 Rubicon exhibits notes of damp earth, loamy soil, mushrooms, herbs, pepper and red and black currants. Tasting like a hypothetical blend of a traditional Italian Barolo and a Napa Bordeaux blend, this full-bodied effort possesses power, glycerin and depth, but its tannins remain jagged and unintegrated. The overall impression is of a big, backstrapping red that needs less structure and more charm. It still has plenty of time to sort itself out as it is unlikely to fall apart for at least another decade. (RP)
Combines richness with elegance and grace, offering up loamy currant, dried berry, tobacco, sage and a dash of herb that takes on a supple earthiness reminiscent of Pessac-Léognan. For those who seek a Bordeaux expression from Napa Valley, this is a good candidate. (JL)
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