The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a big wine loaded with black fruit, cedar, licorice, grilled herbs and tar. Layers of flavor build effortlessly to the muscular, virile finish. Despite its size, the 2008 Reserve maintains elements of classicism that serve to balance some of the wine’s more extroverted leanings. The wine impresses for its depth, expressive inner perfume and beautifully integrated tannins. It is a showstopper from Mondavi. The 2008 Reserve is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Petit Verdot. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2028. (AG)
Bright medium ruby. Very dark aromas of blackberry, cassis and licorice lifted by a violet element. Then juicy but quite tight on the palate, showing less sweetness than the 2007. A distinctly vertical, linear wine today; will it round out in barrel? Best today on the long, gripping finish, where the tannins are nicely ripe. The top Cabernet lots got a maceration of up to 40 days in 2008, according to head winemaker Janssens. (ST)
Rich, supple and graceful, with firm tannins supporting ripe plum, currant, blackberry and spice. Full-bodied, but not heavy or dense. Pleasantly complex and engaging. Drink now through 2022. (JL)
*Cellar Selection* A very fine Cabernet, fancy and elegant in the mouth, although the tannins are tough and the wine wants some time. Your first impression is of astringency, a combination both of grape skin and oak tannins. Next, the blockbuster core of blackberries and black currants hits, leading to a long, spicy finish. Despite high alcohol, this seems like a wine that should develop over the next ten years.
With lots of sweet oak surrounding its very ripe fruit, the latest Mondavi Reserve is an especially outgoing wine and holds little back. It is supple and full and wonderfully rich on the palate, and it stays in balance despite its very evident ripeness. A scant bit of heat comes up in the finish and ultimately costs it higher marks, but this a crowd- pleasing Cabernet by any standard, and it has room to grow for another five-plus years.
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