00% Cabernet Sauvignon. The 1976 is the only 100% varietal vintage in the history so far of the Mondavi Reserve. Mondavi felt the wine had excellent balance without blending and so chose to leave out the Cabernet Franc as well as the Merlot that they had began incorporating in the 1970s. 1976 was two years into a drought that lowered yields but also created additional concentration. Fermented in stainless steel at a higher temperature than any previously tasted vintages (88 °F/31 ºC) and 10 days' total skin contact with the goal to increase intensity and richness. Aged for 27 months in French oak. Unbelievably youthful – almost shocking to recognise it is a 40-year-old wine. Aromatics of leather and mushroom mixed through with dried violets and accents of espresso. The nose carries into the palate on a body of mixed cherry with baking spice, dried herbs and hints of eucalyptus. Fine tannins and a gravelly minerality carry through with vibrant freshness and an ultra-long finish. 18/20 Points (ECB)
A drought year success, this remains concentrated and complex, with rich blackberry, plum, spice and earth notes that linger.—Robert Mondavi vertical (December 2015). (JL, Web-2016)
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