Inglenook Rubicon is made from 93% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% Cabernet Franc.
Since its inaugural vintage in 1978, Rubicon has been the Estate's premier red wine, reflecting the soul of the property and expressing Francis Coppola's wish to create a Bordeaux-styled grand wine, that is, "a wine that can please contemporary taste, but with a historical aspect [that defines] our vineyards at their zenith."
Rubicon was named after the small river crossed by Julius Caesar in 49 B.C., declaring his intention to gain control of Rome, thereby launching a civil war among opposing factions. Over time the phrase "crossing the Rubicon" has come to signify any irreversible action with revolutionary intent or the outcome of which holds great risk. True to its uncommon depth, Inglenook's Rubicon continues to be a testament to the finely tuned rendering of a risk well-taken.
After four years of drought, a winter with average rainfall was welcome, as it provided ample soil moisture for a strong start to the 2016 growing season. Average late-spring temperatures and limited precipitation minimized the risk of frost during mid-May bloom, ensuring average yields. June closed with a heat spell, slowing vine canopy growth at the ideal time. Harvest of the blocks contributing to the 2016 Inglenook Rubicon blend occurred under optimum conditions from September 6th through September 27th.
Ideal harvest conditions endowed the 2016 Rubicon with the three elements associated with a truly great wine from the Rutherford appellation: complexity, balance, and elegance. The aromas are intense and focused with top notes of creamy, sweet vanilla, and black licorice wound around a core of exquisitely ripe black cherry and crème de cassis. This refinement extends directly to the palate, where the wine is both broad and deep with sensuous, silky tannins. Supremely balanced in terms of both opulence and complexity, ripe black fruits and an ultra-smooth texture provide an impressive crescendo to a very long finish.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Rubicon is a wine of total precision and class. Translucent and energetic, with distinctly mid-weight structure, the 2016 is a wine of reserve, tension and breeding. Shy at first, the 2016 has a lot to offer, but it needs a number of years in bottle to be at its most expressive. Cedar, tobacco, licorice and wild cherry add the closing nuances.
- Antonio Galloni 97 Points
Alain Jaume Domaine du Clos de Sixte Lirac is made from 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre
An intense red garnet color. On the nose, aromas of red and black ripe fruit (kirsch and wild blackberry). The mouth is full, with aromas of blackcurrant liqueur and spice. Tannins are both harmonious and elegant thanks to the fleshiness of the wine. Hints of licorice and vanilla on the finish, which gives the wine length and complexity.
Soil type LIRAC vineyard is facing Chateauneuf du Pape, opposite side of the Rhône river. As showed by the picture and following geologist George Truc, soils are almost similar in both side. They are marked by the violence wrought by the Rhone river. It consists of a layer of marine molasses of the Miocene period covered by alpine alluvium. The presence of a great number of rounded stones known as "galets" in the earth is evidence of the time when the Rhone, then a torrent, tore fragments of rock from the Alps and deposited them on the plain. LIRAC is one of the up-coming best area from the southern Rhône valley, as it delivers outstanding wines. Winemaking & ageing Traditional wine-making in stainless still vats. Hand sorted bunches, crushed and destemmed grapes. Fermentation temperature : 30°C. 18 days of vatting with pigeages.
"The 2016 Lirac Domaine du Clos de Sixte is a terrific wine, easily the rival to many Châteauneufs from across the river, starting with its alluring aromas of flowering garrigue and ripe cherries. A blend of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre, this full-bodied wine is lush and concentrated on the palate, then turns velvety on the long finish. I'd treat it like a Châteauneuf du Pape in terms of cellaring: hold it for a few years, then drink it over the next 15. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue 233, October 2017), 93+ pts
Alain Jaume Rasteau Les Valats is made from 90% Grenache, 10% Syrah, planted on clay and stones based soil.
40 Hectoliters / Hectare
Deep red garnet color. Aromas of fresh red berries. On the palate, the richness of the fruit and tannins harmonizes with the roundness of the wine.
The finish is long, with spicy touches and minerals notes. Complete and authentic.
Grapes planted on clay and stones based soil.
"Notes of wet sandstone, crushed earth and olive lend elegant restraint to crisp black cherry and blackberry here. A blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah, this concentrated wine is marked by savory tones of dried mint and sage. Fine but firm tannins and a mineral freshness accent the finish. It's ready now but should improve through 2030. - ANNA LEE C. IIJIMA"
- Wine Enthusiast (March 2019), 91 pts
"Earth, black olive and plummy fruit combine on the nose of the 2016 Rasteau Les Valats. It's a bit rugged, but in a good way, with savory tannins framing the dark flavors and lingering on the finish. Dark and dusty, it calls out for grilled meat. - Joe Czerwinski"
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #238, August 31st 2018), 90 pts
"The 2016 Rasteau Les Valats is another outstanding wine from this team, offering classic Rasteau earthy black fruits, gravelly minerality, and a touch of spice to go with a full-bodied, concentrated, powerful style on the palate. Based on 80% Grenache and 10% each of Syrah and Mourvèdre, it’s a powerful yet balanced 2016 that will keep for 7-8 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (March 2019), 90 pts
Argot Mosaic Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Sourced from both high-elevation and valley floor vineyards, located in the cool-climate AVAs of Sonoma Mountain, Bennett Valley and Petaluma Gap. A drama-free growing season allowed for a leisurely harvest of perfectly ripe, healthy fruit. Low-stress, clean ferments, led to an exceptionally pure Pinot Noir, laden with fruit, earth and spice.
"Medium ruby in color, the 2016 Pinot Noir Mosaic has a pretty nose of pink peppercorn, herbs and dusty earth over a core of savory black fruit and spices. Medium-bodied, it gives good layers of flavors in the mouth with concentrated black fruits and loads of spice, grainy tannins to support and a long, lingering finish. Yum! 600 cases produced.. - Lisa Perrotti-Brown" - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #237, June 2018), 92+ pts
No Syrah terroir in Sonoma County compares with Sonoma Mountain’s northwest crown—cool fog-affected mornings, sun-bathed afternoons, cooled by persistent coastal breezes, and temperate evenings. The soils in Steiner’s Syrah blocks — ashy and moondust-like, littered with decomposing sea bed — further contribute to the unique nature of this site. After a 3-vintage hiatus, I am thrilled to be back working with Steiner Vineyard’s Syrah. By its nature, this slow-to-ripen, cool-climate site produces fabulously deep, intense, structured wines. Now, raising a big, brawny Syrah is no rare act of alchemy. It is the wonder of Steiner’s terroir — a magical elegance and beauty, informing the inherent power, depth and intensity — that makes this bottling so special. 2016 produced a classic wine that deftly balances massive flavors and texture, while retaining vital freshness, and a palpable sense of cool. Production was low, so get it while you can. Simply a “WOW” wine, not to be missed.
VINEYARD: Steiner Vineyard. Located at 1,100 ft, on the northwest crown of Sonoma Mountain. CRUSH: Early morning harvest by hand, October 1st, cluster and berry sorted, destemmed and crushed. FERMENT: 5-day cold soaks, followed by 14 day native fermentation in open-top bins. AGING: 20 months, French oak, 100% new, mixture of 300L hogsheads and barrique shapes. Never racked prior to bottling. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.
"Refined and stylish, featuring a complex core wrapped in multilayered blackberry and blueberry flavors, laced with bitter chocolate, black licorice and smoky meat notes. Drink now through 2030.- Tim FISH"
- Wine Spectator Insider (January 15th 2020), 93 PTS
Argot Starstruck Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot (15-25 years old)
Sourcing from vineyards scattered throughout Napa Valley’s spectrum of terroirs, this wine arrives in the glass with a great complexity of personality. Remaining true to last vintage’s bottling, 2016’s Starstruck pours a vibrant purple, offering vibrant aromatics, regal structure and great freshness. Where this bottling has evolved, is by way of Sage Ridge’s warmer, up-valley, higher elevation, red-fruited power, which bolsters the dark blue/purple, cool-fruited character of the other three, cooler-climate Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards. Further, the addition of Merlot has added a wonderful juiciness in both flavor and structure. A palate’s tour of Napa Valley’s myriad terroir — sunbaked ridgetops; forested hillsides; orange-soils; cooling, maritime winds; dense, fog-shrouded mornings. While 2016 keeps with the theme from previous vintages, new flourishes have been added to the mix — a warmer, up-valley vineyard, along with a dollop of Merlot — to up the ante. This cuvee opens to an alluring approach-ability, vibrance, and kiss of juiciness, by way of baked red pie-fruits. On a beam of blood orange accents, a powerfully precise delineation of intense dark fruits flushes out the palate. A singularly delicious and complex representation of Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley, that begs to be devoured.
Sourced from four Napa Valley vineyards — Suscol Ranch’s orange, iron-laden soils; Sugarloaf West’s fiercely steep hillside; Sugarloaf East’s south-facing, ferociously rocky “soils”; Sage Ridge’s geographically dramatic ridgetop vineyard in far-eastern Napa. CRUSH: Hand-harvested at night, to protect fruit integrity — Sage Ridge, 9/12, 9/26; Sugarloafs and Suscol, 10/13. Cluster sorted, destemmed, berry sorted by hand, fully crushed. FERMENT: 7-day cold soaks, an average of 20 days skin contact. Individual vineyards raised separately, blended shortly before bottling. AGING: 20 months in French oak, 80% new. Suscol Ranch barrels racked once at twelve months. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.
The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Starstruck is a step up and offers more density and depth, as well as the classic purity of fruit that makes this vintage so compelling. Ripe, powerful notes of blueberries, cassis, green tobacco, and graphite all flow to a full-bodied Cabernet that has loads of fruit, ripe tannins, good acidity, and the class to evolve for upwards of two decades. Bravo!" - Jeb Dunnuck (January 2019), 94 pts
Michelet Courtaullt Chablis AOC is made from 100% Chardonnay, machine harvested at full maturity ; pneumatic press; fermentation in temperature controlledstainless steel tanks for 8-10 days; M.L (2 months after the harvest); aging on the lees until February; racking; fining if necessary; cold stabilization; filtration right before bottling in April.
Golden color. White flowers, fresh, lime and citrus aromas. Pleasant mouthfeel, supple, crisp, fruity flavors.
Ideal as an aperitif, the wine is an excellent companion to seafood
The Jean-Claude Courtault Estate
This is a family owned winery founded by Jean-Claude Courtault in 1984. A native of Touraine, Jean-Claude Courtault arrived in Lignorelles in 1974 to work as a vineyard manager for one of the villagees wine estates. In 1984, JC Courtault purchased 1.5 hectare of 4 year old vines in the Chablis area. Then, he rented a piece of land in the Chablis appellation area that he planted with the help of his wife, Marie-Chantal.
They released their first vintage in 1987 and the same year they were rewarded a gold medal at the "Concours Genaral des Vins de Paris" competition. This medal was just the first of many awards and prizes that have punctuated JC Courtaultes career, as a recognition of the quality and consistency of his wines. In 1995, the estate measured 12 hectares and progressively expanded to reach now 17.60 hectares in production. The total annual production for the Domaine is 1000 hectoliters on average, split between Chablis and Petit Chablis.
Jean Claude has been joined recently by his daughter Stephanie and her husband.
The Jean-Claude Courtault Estate Vineyard
This is a 18 hectare vineyard (44.50 acres), of which 17.60 are in production. The rest is planted to young vines. The vineyards are located in the communes of Beine, Lignorelles, Chablis, Fye and Villy.
All vines average 15 years of age or older with intense vine density of 6,000 plants per hectare. Pneumatic presses are used along with temperature controlled fermentation vats. Only stainless steel vats are used, not oak barrels.
Tasting Note: This very aromatic Syrah has hints of black pepper, dark berries and herbs and a bloody, earthy character on the nose. The palate is full-bodied with velvety but structured tannins and a balanced natural acidity. The finish is fresh, long and supple. Best served at 16 to 18 °C, this wine will greatly benefit from decanting when drunk within the first 3 to 5 years after bottling.
Andrea Mullineux told me that their debut 2012 Mullineux Iron Syrah has been the hardest cru to fine-tune over the years. Indeed, it has been trialed since 2005 but never bottled...until now. "We have been working hard to perfect the acidity here and it's been important to get life into the soil, getting the vineyard healthy, so that it can be picked with good acidity. Because it is dry farmed, in a space of three days, it can god from 22 to 26 Brix – so picking decision is critical," she said. It has a subtle marine influence coming through on the nose with macerated black cherries, boysenberry jam and touches of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite grainy tannins, very nicely poised with touches of fig and marmalade towards the slightly saline finish. This is a strong debut to form the trio of Syrah single "terroir" offerings.
"The 2013 Iron Syrah has a roundness and softness on the nose that almost belies its complexity - red berry fruit, red peppercorns, rooibos and undergrowth scents that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, wonderfully savory and quite gamey, and beautifully balanced with impressive volume and sustain on the finish that you would have difficult distinguishing from a top Côte-Rôtie. This is an excellent Syrah, my only reservation being that there is a touch of heat on the finish. - Neal Martin"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, November 2015), 93 pts
"Similar to the Schist Syrah in its weight and meatiness, the Iron Syrah offers a more elegant, immediate appeal. Dark red plum, smoked meat, and savory herbs are seamlessly integrated on a lush, juicy and firmly structured palate, finishing very very long."
- iwinereview.com (January 2016), 95 pts
Mordoree Lirac Blanc Reine des Bois is made from Grapes : Grenache 35 % Clairette 25 % Viognier 10 % Roussanne 15 % Marsanne 10 % Picpoul 5%>
Color : green gold
Aromas : white fruits, peach, apricot, pear, violet.
Palate : rounded, long finish, highly flavoured.
Ageing Potential : 4-5 years.
Surface : 4 Ha. Yield : 35 Hl./Ha. Vineyard age : 30 years Terroir : Clay / chalk with pebble stones. Harvest : by hand Vinification : skin maceration and direct pressing with temperature control. Fermentation : oak barrel fermentation for 25% of the total volume
Pairs well with appetizers, fish, seafood.