I had a sneak preview of the 2005 Rubicon last week and this should be one of the greatest wines from this storied Napa Valley estate.
Owner Francis Ford Coppola is obsessed with making Rubicon one of Napa's first-growths, and he has the vineyard and winemaking talent to do so. But Rubicon, made from the vineyard that gave us the great Inglenook Cabernets from the 1930s to the 1960s, has been inconsistent—occasionally grand, usually very good, but to my taste, too often too lean and lacking body.
The '05 Rubicon should be a showstopper. It has more richness, depth, complexity and concentration than recent vintages, which for me have been good, in the 88-point range, but shy on depth and range of flavor. The '05 reminded me of the 1999 Rubicon (bottled under the Niebaum-Coppola label that has since been renamed Rubicon Estate). It offers power and finesse, with a finish that keeps reverberating flavors. The wine is in a new package as well, with a special bottle design that gives it a unique, if difficult-to-read look. The wine is still about a year from release and will sell in the $145 range.
Larry Stone, the winery’s general manager (and one of our guest bloggers last year), poured the '05 along with the '04 Rubicon, the '04 Cask bottling, the 2004 RC Reserve (a Syrah-based blend) and the 2005 Edizione Pennino Zinfandel, a unique expression of Rutherford Zinfandel and one of the greatest values in California. The '04s were good, but the '05s are superior.
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