Federal Wine & Spirits

29 State Street, Boston, MA 02109

Read about the wines in this tasting

Read what our customers thought

This Week's Tasting

Inglenook and Rubicon - An Iconic Napa Winery Reborn
September 18, 2019

First there was Inglenook. There in Rutherford in 1882 Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish sea captain who had amassed a fortune in the fur trade, fermented his first crop of Napa Valley cabernet grapes.



First there was Inglenook.

There in Rutherford in 1882 Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish sea captain who had amassed a fortune in the fur trade, fermented his first crop of Napa Valley cabernet grapes. From that time until Prohibition in 1919,and again after its repeal in 1933 through the late 60’s under his great nephew John Daniel it was the benchmark of Napa Valley Cabernet. Film director Francis Ford Coppola purchased part of the estate in 1975. A decade later he made his first Niebaum-Coppola Rubicon from clones of the cabernet that Niebaum had brought from France a century earlier.

         The Rubicons of the early 90s were rather rough-hewn There has been steady progress since. The current Rubicons and Inglenooks have regained the polish and sophistication of the Inglenook wines of the 60s that I have tasted. With the input of Bordeaux consultant Stephan Derenencourt and under the direction of Philippe Bascaules of Ch. Margaux they temper power with purity and grace, rivalling some of the best wines of Bordeaux 

Tasted in May, I thought they were poised, with appealing fruit balanced by fine structural complexity. They are very fine wines of their type, definite recommendations for tasting, purchase and cellaring. They are grand cru in the making. We are pleased to welcome Mark Vanston from the winery to present the wines.

I have not yet tasted the newly released 2014 Rubicon, but I rated the 2013 Outstanding (we still have a few bottles.) For the 2014 I have quoted Robert Parker who had a similar opinion. 



2016 Inglenook Sauvignon Blanc; Aroma: fresh crisp, rather clean, fine, low melon, clean pretty, light fresh; Mouth: juicy rather lemony, bright, juicy acid, ratter clean, tight firm, lemon finish; Very Good Plus 46.99; Mixed Case, 42.29; Case, 39.94



2015 Edizione Pennino Zinfandel; Aroma: very rich and heady, heady , very dense full, ; Mouth: juicy rather oaky bright, clean , tangy, spicy & linear; Very Good Excellent 58.99; Mixed Case, 53.09; Case, 50.14

2014 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon 1882; Color: medium dark opaque, ; Aroma: sweet woody spice, , nicely directly intense, rather bright; Mouth: smooth, clean, fine acid, strong, rather bright clean very fine tannins, palate staining tannins on the finish, very long; Excellent 44.99; Mixed Case, 40.49; Case, 38.24

2014 Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon Cask; Color: very dark black; Aroma: lightly heady rather dense, , deep chocolate, , lightly earthy, restrained, Rutherford dust, , deep currant; Mouth: clean rather form, lightly sweet very pretty, fine acid tannins, , fine well defined acidity,  clean, nicely herbal on the finish; Excellent - Outstanding 80; Mixed Case, 72; Case, 68

 2014 Rubicon Robert Parker 2016 “has a saturated black/purple color and a nose of blackberry and cassis with some camphor and charcoal. Chewy, rich and full-bodied, with exceptional precision and personality, this is a stunningly delicious and complex wine with a good 25-30 years of further potential. … Approachable already, this wine won’t hit its stride for another decade and will last 30 or more years.” $195; Mixed Case, 175.5, case 165.75

Not in the tasting, bottles only available

2013 Inglenook Rubicon; Color: very dark dense, ; Aroma: heady & sweet, very dense, rich,  fine & elegant,  very pretty, broad strong Cab note, ; Mouth: dense rather thick aproachable & forward with a lot in reserve, very fine acid, nicely concentrated, rich still young; Outstanding 195; Mixed Case, 175.5


mix any 6- 11 above wines for 10% off

any 12 or more for 15% off


Order by phone at 617.367.8605, or reserve here: order@federalwine.com

Please pass this on to any friends who are wine enthusiasts!


           - Len Rothenberg