Robert M. Parker, Jr. - The Wine Advocate, June 1997
About this WINE
It would not be an overstatement to claim that Robert Mondavi has been the single biggest influence in Californian wine in the last 34 years. His family owned the Charles Krug Winery in St. Helena and Robert worked there for many years. After a family row he left the company in 1966 and created his own winery in Oakville. The company is now run by Robert`s two sons, with Michael as chief executive and Tim as winemaker.
It produces a wide range of wines but is probably best known for its benchmark Cabernet Sauvignon and in particular its Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. The grapes for the Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, which are sourced from the To-Kalon vineyard at Oakville, are barrel fermented and the wine is then aged in French barriques for 18-20 months. It possesses considerable depth and power as well as being supremely well balanced and is consistently one of California's greatest red wines.
The most famous red wine grape in the world and one of the most widely planted.
It is adaptable to a wide range of soils, although it performs particularly well on well-drained, low-fertile soils. It has small, dusty, black-blue berries with thick skins that produce deeply coloured, full-bodied wines with notable tannins. Its spiritual home is the Médoc and Graves regions of Bordeaux where it thrives on the well-drained gravel-rich soils producing tannic wines with piercing blackcurrant fruits that develop complex cedarwood and cigar box nuances when fully mature.
The grape is widely planted in California where Cabernet Sauvignon based wines are distinguished by their rich mixture of cassis, mint, eucalyptus and vanilla oak. It is planted across Australia and with particular success in Coonawarra where it is suited to the famed Terra Rossa soil. In Italy barrique aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a key component in Super Tuscans such as Tignanello and Sassicaia, either on its own or as part of a blend with Sangiovese.