2002 Robert Mondavi "Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
(14.5% alcohol; 80% from To-Kalon): Dark medium ruby color. Sexy, dark aromas of cassis, minerals and bitter chocolate. Sweet, plush and deep, conveying an almost syrupy ripeness counterpointed by unexpected acidity. This very generous wine boasts terrific palate presence and appeal, finishing with suave tannins and outstanding length. I liked this wine very much upon its release but it has taken a while to reveal the liqueur-like ripeness that's typical of this vintage.
***Cellar Selection*** Mainly from To Kalon grapes, this dark, young wine is not showing its best now. It hasn’t pulled the oak, alcohol, acids, tannins and fruit together into a seamless package. The individual parts stick out, nakedly, yet possess an innate balance. Mondavi Reserves age well; this one should start to open by 2010 and hold for years after.
Here is a beautifully made wine that reminds that Cabernet is and should not be defined solely by ripeness and hard-charging oak, for, while it may have plenty of each, it shows exceptional balance and genuine finesse, and it is defined first and last by its precise and unwavering curranty fruit. It is wine with plenty of potential, its polish and poise notwithstanding, and it deserves at least a four or five years in the cellar in which to deepen and more fully unfold.
Starts simple but gains, displaying elegance and refinement, grace and nuance.—Robert Mondavi vertical (December 2015). Drink now through 2020. (JL, Web-2016)