Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Old World, Meet New World

Although my love for Italian wines, and Tuscan wines imparticular is far reaching,  California Cabernet will always be near and dear to my heart.  The sheer breadth and volume of great wines produced in Napa and Sonoma compels a serious wine drinker to pay attention to this area and I have reported on many in the past.

The Cabernets that stand out for me however, are the rare bunch that go beyond the fruit driven lushness so common to Napa Cabernets.  They seem to master that elusive nuance of blending the California ripeness with Old World complexity.  Today's wine is perfect example of this.

The 2009 Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville is a huge, bruising wine.  It's dark crimson to black in the glass with forceful aromas of black stone fruit, minerals, herbs and cedar. I love that component to the aroma, because it's not that aggressive vanilla, creamy oak that sometimes detracts from a Napa Cabernet. This smells like worn leather and aged cedar.  In the mouth, the wine is monstrously tannic with a solid core of fruit. It's full bodied and primary, way too young to be approachable now, but this has the potential to be great.  I see faint echoes of dried sage and olives to the black fruit flavors but this needs at least 5 years in the cellar to resolve some of these blistering tannins.  Fortunately, the wine has the fruit and acids in balance to age gracefully.  I find it hard to score this wine at this point, but I would definitely recommend it as long as you can patiently cellar it.  About $45. 

2009 Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon


  1. John, very interesting that I just finished photographing this wine in preparation for a blind Cab tasting next week.
    You recommend that we wait on this one?

  2. Dennis, I'd say it depends how many you've got. I kind of thought this would be tough as nails, but I bought a few so I didn't mind sacrificing one to science. If it's your only bottle, I'd say hold it and open something else. Otherwise, have at it. Decanting may help, mine was only open for an hour or so and seemed to do nothing for the wine, fyi.