97pts James Suckling
Aromas of blackcurrants, dark chocolate and dried flowers. Very aromatic. Full body, velvety tannins and impressive intensity and richness. Opulent fruit, yet this is still lightly austere and velvety. A beauty every sense of the word. Harmonious, classic wine.
95pts Jeb Dunnuck
In the same ballpark as the 2015, the 2014 Rubicon (97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Merlot and 1% Petit Verdot) is a ripe, full-bodied 2014 that boasts a deep purple color, loads of currants, incense, and cedary spice aromas, terrific mid-palate depth, and building tannin. It can be drunk today or cellared for 15-20 years.
95pts Wine & Spirits
The 2014 Rubicon is part of a trajectory of change at Inglenook, begun when Philippe Bascaules arrived in 2011 as estate director. He has worked with viticulturist Enrique Herrera to moderate sun exposure on the grapes and to prune early, in December, so that the bloom and harvest occur earlier in the season. His goal is to avoid excess heat and to ripen the cabernet during August, as he believes early ripening to be more efficient, allowing him to pick fruit without the cooked flavors that might come with longer hang time. He shortened the growing season by ten days between 2012 and 2013, and an additional three days in 2014, selecting the most perfectly ripe grapes for Rubicon. His 2014 may be the finest release yet under his tenure, a classical Rutherford cabernet with sapid red fruit and the kind of deep, umami-rich tannins that André Tchelistcheff once described as Rutherford dust. Or maybe they’re a little more gravelly than that. Those distinctive tannins allow the wine to feel elegant and clean while still lending it tensile strength.
95pts Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
The proprietary red, the 2014 Rubicon (96% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot and Petit Verdot) 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. It is the antithesis of the rustic, somewhat coarse reds that were made under the Rubicon moniker when Francis Ford Coppola first acquired the Inglenook estate. Kudos to him for making dramatic improvements. Approachable already, this wine won’t hit its stride for another decade and will last 30 or more years.
Notes of briary plum, blackcurrant, dried herbs, graphite and rich soil introduce an elegant, open-knit and nicely balanced wine with fine tannins, juicy acidity and good length through the finish. This has more depth at the core than the 2013 rendition: a step in the right direction for a terroir which has the potential to produce one of Napa Valley's greatest wines.
94pts Wine Enthusiast
Tiny amounts of Merlot and Petit Verdot were added to this succulent, elegant wine with cassis, cranberry and black cherry flavors and rounded structure. A light note of cocoa dust and soft texture balance its exotically spiced lushness with delicious integration.
92pts Wine Spectator
Loam, sage and smoldering tobacco notes sit atop a core of steeped red and black currant fruit. The finish shows a tarry edge. Once this merges fully, it should provide a character-filled, slightly rustic impression of Cabernet.
The 2014 Rubicon demonstrates harmonious, lasting character. Composed this year almost entirely of Cabernet Sauvignon, offers a sweeter, rounder nose than one might find in other vintages, which is a testament to the seamless integration of fruit, tannin, and oak. Weighted throughout, the wine’s fragrance and flavors are linear from start to finish, with sophisticated notes of dark berries, black cherries, currants, spice and vanilla flowing together, bringing impressive complexity to this outstanding vintage.