1985 Robert Mondavi "Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1026289 92 points John Gilman

 The 1985 Mondavi Cabernet reserve bottling contained twelve percent Cabernet franc and six percent Merlot in this vintage, and was aged in one hundred percent new oak. It weighs in at 13.1 percent alcohol, making it still a very classic vintage of this wine in terms of ripeness. I tasted two bottles of this wine for this article, with the first shipped to New York by the winery for a retrospective tasting, and which showed impressive complexity, but with slightly disjointed acidity on the backend that suggests less than fully successful acidulation in this era of 'sculpted wines.' The second bottle, which had been in a good friend’s cellar since its release was very polished and classy, and decidedly more interesting than the bottle flown in from Oakville. The bouquet is a complex and classy blend of black cherries, dark berries, a touch of chipotle, tobacco leaf, coffee, gentle bass notes of Rutherford dust and a deft framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is full-bodied, complex and possesses nicely 'cool' fruit tones, with very good mid-palate depth, modest tannins and good length and grip on the classy finish. The more “rested” bottle showed beautiful refinement and continued to blossom and add different facets of spice tones as it developed in the glass over the several hours that we followed the wine. A delightful 1985 Cabernet. Drink between 2009-2025.  (9/2012)

K&L Notes

This Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet was sourced from Mondavi's famed To Kalon vineyard in Oakville. It is one of Napa Valley's most iconic bottlings of premium Cabernet Sauvignon.

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Price: $99.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.