1986 Niebaum-Coppola "Rubicon" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The 1986 Rubicon, which is scheduled for release in September (the winery only releases their red wines when they are at least six years old), is not as robust and rustic as some of its predecessors. However, it is concentrated and full-bodied, with a big, spicy, earthy, cassis-scented nose, and rich, full-bodied flavors that reveal considerable extraction of fruit and tannins. The wine is just beginning to open up, and after sixty minutes in a decanter, there was perceptible evolution and softening. I have often thought that renowned movie director/producer, Francis Ford Coppola, has wanted to make Cabernet in the image of an Italian Barolo, but the 1986 leans more toward a classic expression of traditional, ageworthy, concentrated Napa Valley Cabernet. It should last for 15-20 years.
Lovers of Inglenook's old wines will recognize the name Niebaum, which refers to that winery's founder, a sea captain named Gustave Niebaum. Francis Coppola acquired much of the property and began reconstructing the estate back in the mid-1970s. Located in Rutherford, this is an exemplary place for Bordeaux varietals in California. The name "Rubicon" is a classical reference to Caesar's march on Rome--'the crossing of the Rubicon'--meant to suggest a point of no return, appropriate for Niebaum-Coppola's flagship production. A proprietary blend, this is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon from the estate's prime vineyard blocks planted to the original Niebaum Cabernet clone, with only small amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.