1986 Niebaum-Coppola "Rubicon" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #900315 90 points 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.  (8/1992)

K&L Notes

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.

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Price: $89.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the M├ędoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
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Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.