The 1985 Mondavi Cabernet reserve bottling contained twelve percent Cabernet franc and six percent Merlot in this vintage, and was aged in one hundred percent new oak. It weighs in at 13.1 percent alcohol, making it still a very classic vintage of this wine in terms of ripeness. I tasted two bottles of this wine for this article, with the first shipped to New York by the winery for a retrospective tasting, and which showed impressive complexity, but with slightly disjointed acidity on the backend that suggests less than fully successful acidulation in this era of 'sculpted wines.' The second bottle, which had been in a good friend’s cellar since its release was very polished and classy, and decidedly more interesting than the bottle flown in from Oakville. The bouquet is a complex and classy blend of black cherries, dark berries, a touch of chipotle, tobacco leaf, coffee, gentle bass notes of Rutherford dust and a deft framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and possesses nicely 'cool' fruit tones, with very good mid-palate depth, modest tannins and good length and grip on the classy finish. The more “rested” bottle showed beautiful refinement and continued to blossom and add different facets of spice tones as it developed in the glass over the several hours that we followed the wine. A delightful 1985 Cabernet. Drink between 2009-2025.
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