With repesct to older vintages, in October I tasted three of Mondavi's more renowned Cabernet Sauvignons. The 1978 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve has consistently been a 90 point wine. It remains a beautiful Cabernet, displaying cedar, tobacco, and black currant fruit. Medium to full-bodied and fully mature, with sweet ripeness on the attack, excellent purity, and a long, supple finish... (RP)
92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot. Primarily from To Kalon with some other Napa Valley vineyards as well. Ample rains in the winter prior to the 1978 vintage (after a two-year drought) helped overall vine health. A mild spring was followed by a June heatwave that did cause some yield loss. A relatively warm, short harvest. Fermented at 88 °F (31 ºC) with 10 additional days on skins. Fermented in stainless steel. After malolactic fermentation it was aged in French oak barrels for 25 months. 87% new, light-toast barrels. This is the first vintage tasted that includes Merlot. An earthy nose includes notes of coffee and toast followed by a leathery palate of dried red cherry, gun metal and creamy mint. The wine opens with additional time in the glass but is more blunt on the palate than many of the other vintages. Grittier tannins with abundant, persistent acidity carry into a long finish. (ECB)
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