2002 Rubicon Estate "Rubicon" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1024379 98 points Wine Enthusiast

 Fragrant, showing cascades of violets, caramelized new oak, sweet cherry pie, cocoa and cassis aromas. In the mouth, it’s unctuous, and floods the palate with sweet, savory flavors. Has a youthful jamminess right now, which will melt off and refine as time goes by. Such is the elegance and balance that cellaring it for 20 years will be no problem. This is the best Rubicon ever. *Cellar Selection*  (9/2006)

96 points Wine & Spirits

 Perhaps the best vintage of Rubicon to date, this wine grows at one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon sites in Napa Valley, on the Rutherford benchlands first planted by William C. Watson in 1871, before 19th-century shipping magnate Gustav Neibaum selected the land for his own ambitious estate. Now it belongs to Francis Ford Coppola, who spent the last 30 years reassembling what is now a 1,700-acre property. Winemaker Scott McLeod uses heavily toasted French oak the way he would if he were making a first growth in Bordeaux, and here the fruit lives up to the barrels. The wine has an internal energy; it feels bursting with life, in bloom. The dark fruit is at once luscious and beautifully formed, the flavor lasting for minutes. A genuine expression of place.  (10/2006)

92 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Rubicon has never been noted for wines of immediacy or early charm and so again does this latest fit expectation. It is a solid, serious, some-what backward wine at this point of its life, but it conveys great richness, strength and fruity depth from beginning to end. Its involving themes of black currants, loamy soil, minerals and oak are blunted by ample tannins, yet fruit fights its way through with the message that those who are willing to wait for six to ten years will find real rewards. *Two Stars*  (8/2006)

90 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Dark ruby-red. Aroma of roasted plum, chocolate, mocha, fennel and mustard seed. Juicy and intense, with a restrained sweetness to the rather suave flavors of black cherry and black cherry. Finishes with firm, chalky tannins and very good length. (ST)  (2/2007)

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 Niebaum-Coppola’s rustic styled 2002 Rubicon exhibits notes of damp earth, loamy soil, mushrooms, herbs, pepper and red and black currants. Tasting like a hypothetical blend of a traditional Italian Barolo and a Napa Bordeaux blend, this full-bodied effort possesses power, glycerin and depth, but its tannins remain jagged and unintegrated. The overall impression is of a big, backstrapping red that needs less structure and more charm. It still has plenty of time to sort itself out as it is unlikely to fall apart for at least another decade. (RP)  (6/2012)

Wine Spectator

 Combines richness with elegance and grace, offering up loamy currant, dried berry, tobacco, sage and a dash of herb that takes on a supple earthiness reminiscent of Pessac-Léognan. For those who seek a Bordeaux expression from Napa Valley, this is a good candidate. (JL)  (10/2006)

K&L Notes

The 2002 Rubicon is a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest a small amount of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Rubicon Estate has always had a commitment to responsible farming, and their vineyards are now certified organic by the CCOF. The wine is very much in a Bordeaux style but still remains true to its classic Napa Valley heritage. 2002 is a powerful wine with complex fruit characters and a firm structure that will be sure to develop well in a cellar over the next 15 years.

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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 Médoc 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.


- 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.
Specific Appellation:

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.