2002 Robert Mondavi "Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)
Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Full medium ruby. Vibrant, highly aromatic nose combines blackberry, violet and licorice. Juicy, lively and light on its feet, with cool, lifted flavors of blackberry, violet, mint and exotic spices. Today, this gives virtually no hint of dehydrated fruit. Offers terrific verve for the vintage, but the substantial ripe tannins call for at least five or six years of additional cellaring.
*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.
The oak wears a bit, giving this a drying sensation. Complex aromas of fresh roasted coffee follow through to currant, cedar and blackberry flavors. Firmer, dryer and more tannic, this ends with dark berry and cigar box notes.—2002 California Cabernet blind retrospective (May 2012). Drink now through 2018. (JL, Web-2012)