*Top 100 Wines of 2008* From the historic Inglenook Estate, a sweet spot in the Rutherford bench that has been farmed organically since Gustav Niebaum planted vines here in the 1880s. Winemaker Scott McLeod is now in his 20th year at Rubicon, working with Francis Ford Coppola and his family who have been busy resurrecting the property since 1975. Rubicon is a selection of the more concentrated fruit from the estate, dark in tone with what McLeod describes as a violet character. The '04, from a hot vintage and a relatively early harvest, is marked by the baritone depths small berries and low yields can give. The wine feels compressed, its power magnificent. In addition to whatever trademark combination of flavor and structure places it clearly as Rubicon, it also has that distinctive Rutherford dust character , like pollen dusting a black cherry. One of the true greats from Napa Valley.
**Two Stars** Intense, keenly defined curranty fruit is framed with balanced elements of sweet oak, loam and dusty earth in the very inviting aromas, and the wine's deep and decidedly concentrated, ripe-currant flavors similarly show a fine infusion of enriching oak and sweet spice. An extremely sophisticated wine and a fairly classic rendition of Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon, this latest Rubicon is presently toughened by varietally appropriate tannins, and it is destined for very good things and a long period of improvement over the next decade and more.
At its best Rubicon stuns with power and richness. In lesser vintages (which are usually hotter ones) the wine, which is largely Cabernet Sauvignon, can be raisiny. While 2004 was a warm year, diligent viticulture paid off, resulting in an opulent wine with the purest expression of crushed cherries and blackberries, and oak-inspired hints of nougat and caramel. Fairly aggressive in tannins now, it should begin to open by 2008 and drink well for a decade.
The flagship wine from this estate, the 2004 Rubicon exhibits a dense ruby/purple color as well as an attractive earthy, oaky bouquet with underbrush, black cherry, and currant notes in the background. Medium to full-bodied, chunky, deep, and rustic, this is a spicy, earthy red to drink now or cellar for 12-15 years. (RP)
Dense and chewy, with dried currant, anise and earthy, loamy flavors that coat the palate, gaining depth and nuance. Spicy cherry and berry fruit builds depth and richness on the finish. Needs lots of air. (JL)
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