Beautiful, only-slightly-bricked colour. Immediate, very aromatic nose: blackberries and sesame crisps. An extraordinary simultaneous fresh-savoury aspect. Staggering energy, symmetry and beauty. A lesson in intensity with grace. A lot of grip, again; drives across the palate. Gives no sense of 'age' whatsoever. Even after an hour in the glass, the aroma sings. Remarkable. 19.5/20 (AH)
The regular bottling of 1974 cabernet sauvignon from Robert Mondavi included four percent cabernet franc and two percent merlot in the blend and was produced in prodigious quantity, with fully fifty thousand cases made. It was first released from the winery in February of 1977 for $8 per bottle. Given that this was really a mass market wine in comparison to many others in this tasting, it is remarkable how beautifully the wine was made at the outset and how brilliantly it has aged. The bouquet today is deep, complex and very classy, offering up scents of cassis, a touch of dried eucalyptus, Cuban cigars, a fine base of soil, gentle herb tones and incipient notes of chipotle pepper. On the palate the wine is pure, full-bodied, complex and beautifully balanced, with a fine core, still a touch of backend tannin and impressive length and grip on the focused finish. This has continued to get better and better over the last fifteen years that I have been drinking it and probably is just now entering its peak of maturity at age forty-three. It is not far off the quality of the 1974 Reserve bottling, which is one of Mondavi’s most famous wines. Not too bad for $8 per bottle back in the day! (Drink between 2017-2035)
Medium red. Sexy ripe aromas of plum, prune and dates are accented by cedar, eucalyptus and caraway seed. At once penetrating and suave on the palate, conveying a fine-grained texture and terrific energy for a 42-year-old Cabernet. Finishes with perfectly integrated, ripe tannins and lovely length and verve. Very sexy juice with considerable class. It strikes me that a bottle of this wine could not possibly cause a hangover. (ST)
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