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Coppola hires Margaux winemaker for Inglenook

Chateau Margaux winemaker Philippe Bascaules has left to join Francis Ford Coppola's newly-renamed Inglenook Winery in California.

Inglenook Estate

announced yesterday that he had acquired the Inglenook name from the Wine Group for an undisclosed sum, and that the Rubicon estate in Rutherford will now be re-named Inglenook.

At the same time Coppola has appointed Margaux winemaker Bascaules as estate manager and winemaker. He will replace Scott Macleod, who retired last year.

Bascaules has been estate director at Margaux for 11 years, reporting to managing director Paul Pontallier.

Coppola said, ‘There’s an interesting idea that the owner of a wine estate is part of the terroir, and it’s in this spirit that I’ve spent the last year assessing Inglenook’s future needs, including recruiting Philippe Bascaules, invigorating the vineyards [and] planning a new state-of-the-art winemaking facility.’

Bascaules, who will work with Bordeaux-based consultant Stephane Derenoncourt, said he had been ‘charmed’ by Inglenook.

‘I found the tasting of 1959 Inglenook astonishing with regard to its freshness and complexity, and when I tasted some samples of the 2009 vintage, I recognized the incredible potential of this property.’

Inglenook Vineyards was founded in 1879 by Gustave Niebaum and acquired a formidable reputation as one of Napa’s greatest wineries.

By 1975, when the Coppolas bought some of the estate, it had been broken up and the name sold.

Coppola has spent the last 20 years putting the estate back together, reviving winemaking at Inglenook Chateau and ‘focusing on what it would take to achieve my goal of restoring this property into America’s greatest wine estate,’ he said yesterday.

The estate is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, and 2.4ha of white Rhone varietals that produce the estate’s flagship white, Blancaneaux.

Written by Adam Lechmere

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