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Rubicon Estate: Where Great Wine Meets Hollywood

Francis Ford Coppola's Rubicon Estate pulled down our highest award with its edition of its flagship wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon-dominated blend, vintage 2006. In the period since Mr. Coppola has taken over the once-proud estate founded by Captain Niebaum in 1880 and known as Inglenook for most of its fabled days, the property has prospered and has now regained its pre-eminent position as one of California's leading producers.

Not only has Coppola renewed the property and made it a place of immense and impressive beauty, but in the process, he pulled down buildings that the latter day corporate owner had placed directly in front of the chateau. The lovely picture you see above would have been not visible from any distance and had lost its cachet. No longer, and full credit to Mr. Coppola and crew and bringing it back to the public.

Rubicon Chateau

We often visit Rubicon because its tasting facilities, on the first floor of the chateau, through the large doors in the center of building, are second to none in their polished yet rustic beauty. Great wines are always available, and if tasting is pricey, as it is at all wineries that pour fancy wines, you also get a peak at something no other winery can offer. Up the grand staircase that greats you as you enter is a collection of Inglenook memorabilia and old moving image projectors. It is a walk back in history that will make the visit to Rubicon even more memorable.

To learn more about visiting Rubicon in the heart of the Napa Valley's West Rutherford benchlands, follow the link to, then click on "winery" and then "visiting".

Notes on The Wine News

Here is a headline that has us scratching our heads: "English Sparkling Beats Top Champagnes at Decanter World Wine Awards".

"How did this happen?" is the first thought that runs through our wee brains. And "maybe the English were right after all" is the second. You see, English wine writers have been secretly, quietly, in hushed tones, proclaiming that global warming has made southeastern England more like the old Champagne in climate than Champagne itself. Moreover, the winery in question, RidgeView Estate,, proudly proclaims on its home page, right in the middle, "The combination of chalk and clay in the Downland area of South East England bears an uncanny similarity to the Champagne region." So, even though the judging by an English wine magazine may lead some to question hometown bias, we think that the English knew all along that they had the right soils and climate. They just could not prove it until now.

Wine of The Day

We are running out the door to Cal Shakes, the outdoor Shakespeare summer theater in the hills above Berkeley, and the wine we are taking with us is one that we just finished sampling at our day-time tasting. It is Chasseur Sonoma County Chardonnay 2008, priced at $27.50. We will taste it again before our final review is written, but, based on its showing today, this fruit, rich, well-stuffed wine is going to earn somewhere near 90 points—and that, for us, is a strong endorsement. The price is entirely fair for what you get. Enjoy. We did, and will again later tonight between acts. Outdoor theater let’s you do that. Try bringing your fancy Chardonnays to Broadway.

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