Because the growing season did not commence in its normal clockwork fashion, we waited for our Cabernet Sauvignon to develop intense ripe blueberry and sour cherry flavors""the hallmark of this wine""and harvested in late October. In very warm years we usually opt to blend in more spice characteristics by adding Cabernet Franc, but in cooler, longer seasons the opposite is true. 2000 Rubicon has only 2% Cabernet Franc and is also the first year we introduced a fourth varietal, Petit Verdot. This varietal adds a luxurious texture to the tannins along with velvety, dark berry fruit. The earlier ripening Merlot adds luscious flavors of blueberries and licorice, the perfect complement to our Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2000 Rubicon reflects three generations of Cabernet Sauvignon""including the oldest Cabernet vines on the property""the 1965 Garden Vineyard planted with Clone #29, or what is now dubbed the Niebaum Clone. Because this clone has been continuously planted here, it is one of California's most historic and important clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and is unique to the Niebaum-Coppola Estate. The Gio Vineyard, located directly adjacent to the Garden Vineyard, was planted to the Niebaum Clone in 1988. Located in the center of the Estate, this vineyard receives full sun, with a shady late afternoon reprieve from Mt. St. John to the west. Its fruit is forward, ripe, and fleshy. Other Cabernet grapes come from the Cask Vineyard and Lower Cask Vineyard, which like the Garden Vineyard, are historic sites that were used to bud other locations with the Niebaum Clone.
Wine SpectatorBeautifully crafted, rich, vibrant and deftly balanced. Wonderful currant, blackberry, anise, sage, mineral and fresh earth provide layers of complexity and concentration. Finished with just the right amount of tannins to give it a solid backbone. Best from 2005 through 2014.
Wine EnthusiastShowcases the shortcomings of the vintage as well as the strengths of its terroir and winemaking. The blackberry and cassis flavors are obviously short, and snap to an abrupt finish, but the textural complexity and oaky overlay are very fine. A charming wine meant for early drinking.
Wine AdvocateOutstanding (no small accomplishment in this vintage), the deep ruby/purple-colored, medium to full-bodied 2000 Rubicon possesses more new oak than the 1999, along with impressive richness, and notes of cedar, smoke, black currants, and meaty/forest floor characteristics. It does not have the concentration, power, or aging potential of the 1999, but it will provide delicious drinking now and over the next decade.