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Nearly 150 years ago, Finnish sea captain Gustave Niebaum founded what would become America’s greatest winery. In 1882, he produced his first vintage, setting in motion the grandest tale in American wine. After shattering to pieces and being rebuilt, the Inglenook estate returns as Rutherford’s premier Cabernet vineyard. This is dark, regal and uncompromising Cabernet with a strapping, structure-rich style. A true collectible!
About the wine
“1882” is Francis Ford Coppola’s tribute to Gustave Niebaum’s audacity. Starting in 1882, Niebaum took his Cabernet everywhere - eventually touring the world, taking on all challengers! This proud Rutherford estate went on to be named Wine Spectator’s Wine of the Century! Who needs Wines of the Year when you can have one of those? It all came about from the spectacular vineyard site in Napa’s remarkable Rutherford district. After director Francis Ford Coppola unknowingly purchased a site in Napa, legendary vintner Robert Mondavi approached him and told him of this site’s special history. Newly motivated, Coppola undertook a 40-year mission to restore Inglenook to its former glory. In 2014, this wine has returned to the incredible heights of yesteryear.
Winemaker: Philippe Bascaules
- 94-96 pts, Chris Stanley, Certified Sommelier
- 92 pts, Vinous
- 4.1/5.0, Vinino Users
Vineyards: Inglenook Estate – Red Barn, Chateau, Small Block
Cooperage: 18 months in French & American Oak, 15% of which is New
About the winery
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 flagship 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. Now, after years of horse-trading and piecing together vineyard plots, Coppola has reunited the original lands and purchased the name Inglenook back from the plonk-pushing corporation who had turned this proud name into a shall we say, “less-than-exceptional” wine. With a 50-year plan in hand, the objective for Inglenook Rubicon is pretty straightforward. They want to be not only Napa’s best wine, but also challenging Bordeaux’s First Growths for World’s Best Cabernet.
About the vineyard
When Gustave Niebaum first purchased this site, he borrowed the original owner’s name for it - Inglenook, a Scottish term meaning “cozy spot.” He planted over 250 acres of vineyards, focusing on Cabernet Sauvignon from Bordeaux cuttings, but also including such heirloom varieties as Charbono and Furmint. Inglenook was the trendsetter with European-style viticulture, planting rows closely spaced instead of in loose orchard layout. In the mid-70’s, Coppola intervened and began the arduous task of reuniting the vineyards and replanting to the original Niebaum Inglenook clone of Cabernet. There is still a beautiful old plot in the “Garden” area which has head-trained Cabernet planted back in 1965 . Genetic testing proves the Estate Cabernet Sauvignon that is used to create Rubicon matches the original vines Gustave Niebaum brought back from France in the 1880s, which is now registered as Rubicon Estate heritage Clone #29.
About the winemaker
Personally chosen by Francis Ford Coppola, renowned French winemaker Philippe Bascaules came to Napa from Bordeaux in 2011 to become General Manager of the great American wine estate, Inglenook. Born and bred in the Southwest of France, Bascaules was a gifted student with a love of nature that ultimately inspired his passion for œnology. Bascaules became Estate Director of Bordeaux’s First Growth Chateau Margaux in 2000, overseeing viticulture and vinification and working alongside renowned General Manager, Paul Pontallier. When Bascaules arrived in 2011, he brought with him a 50-year plan to re-assert Inglenook’s place at the top of the wine world’s hierarchy. His patient, studied approach has turned Rubicon from a respected Napa Cabernet into an instant contender. His early Rubicons already bring to mind the best vintages of Mondavi Oakville Reserve and early Montelenas and there’s room for Rubicon to fly past these benchmarks with time in the cellar. Bascaules will ensure that Rubicon stays the course.
94-96 pts - Chris Stanley, Certified Sommelier
"The 2012 Inglenook (Rubicon) "1882" Cabernet pays homage to it's timeless history in Napa Valley. Considered by many as a "first-growth" producer, their introductory bottling doesn't disappoint by any means- and is better than 90% of other's top offerings. The savory fruit is all block specific from their Rutherford Estate- and it shows! Dark fruit, blackberry, plum, boysenberry, dark chocolate, red earth with full rich fine meaty tannins that thread throughout all phases of the wine. Crafted by renowned French winemaker Philippe Bascaules handpicked by Francis Ford Coppola. Masterful."