92 pts Greg Sherwood MW
The Rubicon component parts were transferred to barrel early for malolactic fermentation in 55% new Nevers French oak, 25% second fill barrels and the remaining 20% in older French oak barrels. The final blend of the 2016 is indicative of the vintage and its impact on the estate’s vineyards with 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, the lowest in Rubicon history, with 28% Merlot, exhibiting this varieties great expression in the unusual 2016 vintage, 20% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. The wine was barrel aged for 16 months before bottling. Having tasted this wine a few weeks after bottling in 2018 at the winery, it has certainly settled down beautifully and first impressions suggest further ageing in bottle will only be beneficial. It is pure, bright and generous with sweet notes of plump ripe black plums, sweet cherry tobacco, sappy sandalwood, graphite and cedar spice. The palate is still a touch taut on the entry but quickly fans out onto the mid-palate with sappy sweet black plum fruits from the high percentage of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Thoroughly honest in style, generous and approachable, this wine is both vibrantly fresh and charmingly drinkable now on release with impressively integrated creamy oak. A wine that recognizes its vintage limitations but still succeeds in delivering a wonderfully delicious and gregarious Bordeaux blend expression. Drink now until 2028+.
90+ pts Wine Advocate Issue #245 Oct 2019
The 2016 Rubicon has an expressive nose of mulberry with subtle oak and red and brown spices. Comprised of 49% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, the full-bodied palate is still tight and structured with a grippy, chewy edge, but elegance can be gained with age and this wine ends well structured with focused balance.
90 pts Wine Spectator 4/30/20
Very Old World in style, with a graceful profile and mouthwatering acidity standing firmly behind notes of cherry, savory mineral, rose hip and rosemary. Supple tannins create good harmony and give this more muscle. Needs a bit more time, but well-executed. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. Best from 2021 through 2029. 15,000 cases made.
93 pts Decanter March 2020
Cedar wood, spice, a touch of fynbos on nose and palate. Good acidity and layers of flavour that balance the ripe fruit, with a deft touch.
The 2016 Rubicon shows great charm and drinkability even at this early stage, no doubt a result of the high Merlot and Cabernet Franc composition. We were very cautious with regards to tannic structure as some of the later Cabs exhibited astringency which we wanted to minimise in the final blend. Wonderful exotic aromas of plum, sandalwood and perfume, still with a touch of creamy vanilla. The palate is medium bodied with a forward dark fruit flavour of cassis and mulberry followed by a lithe tannic structure fleshed out with juicy fruit. The impression is one of litheness and grace rather than over-arching power.