1997 Niebaum-Coppola "Rubicon" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend

SKU #993165 97 points Wine Enthusiast

 A masterpiece from this near perfect vintage. Completely ripe, classic and fresh, with oodles of red cherry and blackcurrant flavors that are generously oaked. Amazingly, the wine is still young and tannic. So beautifully structured, so smooth and polished, firm yet soft, just a gorgeous wine. *Cellar Selection*  (9/2006)

95 points Wine & Spirits

 No tasting note given.  (8/2001)

Wine Spectator

 Both bottles showed their age, with a trace of oxidation amid the mature berry, herb, cedar and spice flavors, accompanied by drying, gritty tannins. Still enjoyable, but drink soon. (JL, Web Only-2017)

K&L Notes

Noting that their 1997 Rubicon is likely the best of the decade, winemaker Scott McLeod details, "The 1997 Rubicon is impressive at first glance. It is nearly opaque, with saturated ruby-purple color, like all Rubicons. Color this dark signals a very ripe year where the vines worked continually up to the hour of harvest, packing as much color and flavor and sugar into the grapes as possible. The aroma of the 1997 Rubicon is classic Estate Cabernet Sauvignon with the character of black cherries and violets. Though aged in 75% new French Oak barrels, the contribution of the wood is amazingly integrated and supports the fruit aromas rather than masking them. On the palate, the concentrations of the 1997 harvest are best described as a viscous, sweet black cherry flavor and a dark chocolate and rum raisin note. The lengthy finish is true to the late September harvest, which produced impressive, powerful tannins that will soften with time in the bottle." 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 3% Cabernet Franc.

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Price: $129.99
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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.


- 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.