Filmmaker-turned-winemaker Francis Ford Coppola has released the first wine bearing the Inglenook label since the Napa Valley estate was broken up in 1964. As reported on db.com, a year ago, Coppola successfully reclaimed the Inglenook trademark so that his Rubicon Estate in Rutherford could revert back to its historic original name. At the same time, he hired winemaker Philippe Bascaules, previously of Bordeaux first growth Château Margaux, as estate manager and winemaker, with Stéphane Derenoncourt continuing as consultant winemaker for the estate.
Inglenook was founded in 1880 by Gustave Niebaum, a Finnish sea captain who used his enormous wealth to import the best European grapevines to Napa. The estate’s 1941 Inglenook Cabernet is considered one of the greatest Californian wines ever made. When Coppola first purchased part of the famed property in 1975 with his wife Eleanor, the Inglenook estate had long since been broken up and its name sold off. The Coppolas spent the next twenty years reuniting the vineyards and restoring winemaking to the historic estate.
The new retro label, designed by a retired US Mint artist, is almost an exact replica of the Inglenook Cabernet label from the late ‘50s, featuring the façade of the estate. The choice of the 2009 Cask Cabernet as the first wine to bear the new label is fitting. Cask Cabernet is a tribute to the Inglenook Cabernet Sauvignon of the John Daniel, Jr. era during the ‘30s and ‘40s that spawned many of Inglenook’s greatest vintages ever produced. “When I tasted the 2009 vintage, I recognised the incredible potential of this property and understood Coppola’s desire to bring the quality of the wines to their fullest potential,” said Bascaules.
In keeping with the trend for authenticity reported earlier this week on Wine and the City, Inglenook’s estate wines will also return to their historical labels. The 2009 Cask Cabernet will be available in the US and other international markets in two weeks. In addition to the Cabernet Sauvignon, Inglenook is also planted with Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Syrah, along with three hectares of white Rhône varieties that produce the estate's flagship white, Blancaneaux.