Rubicon Estate Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon 2001
Vintage Notes The 2001 vintage is already considered a classic in Napa Valley. Early in the growing season the weather fluctuated, with spring frosts followed by atypically warm temperatures. These conditions compelled many winegrowers to thin their crop early on, which was fortuitous later because the lower yields naturally resulted in more concentrated grapes. Although several heat waves late in the summer caused the sugar levels in the grapes to shoot up prematurely, the extended growing season allowed tannin development to catch up with brix levels. All in all, the season was very hospitable, with four straight weeks of perfect weather just before harvest commenced in October. Bright, shorter days coupled with cool nights let the fruit develop at an even, steady pace. As a result of these conditions, the fruit shows impeccable balance and finesse. The weather graciously waited for us to finish picking before the rains arrived, making it a perfect finish for this classic vintage. As with all classic vintages, the young wine shows a distinct generosity and delicious youthful character that is going to make it hard to say no to drinking this wine early. Winemaker’s Notes Whenever we have the Cabernet harvest in October, we usually see really gorgeous wines. Late harvests have a different feel than early harvests; the days are shorter and ripeness is extreme but not rushed. The winemakers have time to work with the young wines during fermentation and are able to press the new wine at precisely the right moment. The 2001 Rubicon is an expression of true ripeness in Rutherford, showing wonderful texture, dense flavors of dark, sweet sour cherries and black licorice, and supple tannins with a lengthy and unctuous finish. 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot 5,062 cases (9.0 L) bottled August 4, 2004
External Reviews for Rubicon Estate Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon
Beautifully crafted, rich, vibrant and deftly balanced. Wonderful currant, blackberry, anise, sage, mineral and fresh earth offer layers of complexity and concentration. Finishes with just the right amount of tannins to give it a solid backbone. Best from 2005 through 2014.
Sleek and sophisticated, rich and sharply focused, loaded with complex, concentrated currant, black cherry, mocha, toasty oak and chocolaty flavors. Finishes with thick, well-integrated tannins, boding well for the future. Best Rubicon ever. Best from 2003 through 2012.
The '97 vintage sets off Gustav Niebaum's classic Rutherford vineyard at its best: The wine is a black beauty, its tannins yielding the trademark dust, the point of ripeness so balanced it feels copacetic. Yet don't be fooled by that natural grace. Underneath, this is a tight and intricate young Cabernet, a wine layering its flavors with the warmth of grapes ripening in the sun, the coolness of the earth at night, the maturity of the grape skins and pips that turns that earthiness toward dust and ash only to be carried off into the sheer juiciness of the finish. This beautiful black cherry juiciness glows on and on, making this a dynamic wine to enjoy now. But those who wait will reap far greater rewards.
Notes of roasted herbs, damp earth, licorice, black currants, sweet cherries and a Provencal-like garrigue character emerge from the dense, full-bodied, masculine 2001 Rubicon. This big, deep red still has some tannins to shed, but it is revealing considerable complexity as well as pleasure. It should hit its prime in another 4-5 years and last for two decades.
Tremendously long and expansive, this vintage of Rubicon may not have the staying power of the '99, but it is no less impressive to take on Gustave Niebaum's classic Rutherford vineyard. There's a taste of the dust on the grape skins; or is it the expression of the soil, wrapping around the black, juicy core of the wine? Like the '99, the fruit is black and blue, pushed to the extreme ripeness; this vintage will most likely be showing its best in two to three years.
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.
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.
Food Pairings for Rubicon Estate Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon
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