In 1975, Francis Ford Coppola purchased the historic Inglenook property, intent on restoring the estate’s legacy of creating world-class wines equal to those that founder Gustave Niebaum and his grandnephew John Daniel Jr. made for decades. Rubicon, the estate’s premier wine since 1978, is produced from the best estate grown fruit, including the historic Gustave Niebaum Cabernet Sauvignon selection, which was first planted on the property in the 1880s.
Although it was one of the driest growing seasons on record, 2013 was a stellar vintage in large part because the vines were optimized by the ideal conditions of the previous year. The growing season produced a large crop, so the vines had to be thinned on multiple occasions, but these efforts paid off. The resulting fruit was highly expressive, well concentrated, and ideally balanced. Rubicon typically contains small percentages of other Bordeaux varietals, but because the Cabernet Sauvignon was so exceptional this vintage we felt it should stand on its own as a pure varietal.
Over the last few years, we’ve refined our winemaking methods, using smaller boxes for picking, a new destemmer that is gentler on the fruit, and we apply greater scrutiny during the fermentation process by evaluating individual blocks of fruit daily to determine which will benefit from pump overs. Also, this vintage, we implemented by-the-hour pay for our pickers rather than by-the-ton, as an additional quality measure that encourages our vineyard staff to pick more slowly, be gentler with the fruit, and focus on selecting higher quality clusters as a means of pre-sorting. Because these methods greatly enhance the quality of the wine, it is our goal to continue this technique with all future vintages.
Highly expressive with extraordinary quality and character, our 2013 Rubicon offers upfront aromas of cherries, black currants, and dark chocolate with substantial presence of oak, toast, and floral notes that continue evolving as the wine opens up. A dense, voluminous palate imbued with very fine tannins showcases flavors of dark crushed berries, cassis, and smoky wood. As the flavors gradually broaden, nuances of tobacco leaves and spices emerge. There is a precision and elegance to this vintage, which finishes with freshness due to the balanced natural acidity. Expect beautiful development as this wine matures.
Appellation: Rutherford, CA
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Vineyard: Walnut, Cohn, Apple, Creek, Gio, Garden
Barrel Regimen: 18 months 100% French Oak; 75% New Oak