1974 Robert Mondavi "Reserve" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #900224 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 A consistent star of the vintage, this fully mature wine exhibits no sign of losing its fruit. The color is saturated dark plum/garnet with slight amber at the edge. The bouquet has always been ostentatious, with pungent aromas of cassis, pepper, herbs, licorice, cedar, and Asian spices. Full-bodied and superbly balanced, with that layered, expansive richness found in top, highly extracted wines, the acidity is low but sound, and the tannin has nearly melted away. This stunning, opulent, complex California Cabernet Sauvignon should continue to drink well for another decade or more. (RP)  (6/1994)

93 points Vinous

 Medium red. Sexy ripe aromas of plum, prune and dates are accented by cedar, eucalyptus and caraway seed. At once penetrating and suave on the palate, conveying a fine-grained texture and terrific energy for a 42-year-old Cabernet. Finishes with perfectly integrated, ripe tannins and lovely length and verve. Very sexy juice with considerable class. It strikes me that a bottle of this wine could not possibly cause a hangover. (ST)  (5/2016)

92 points John Gilman

 The 1974 Cabernet Reserve from Robert Mondavi has always been one of the winery’s most famous bottlings and this most recent example was excellent. Interestingly, this vintage of the wine was aged in seventy-five percent French oak and twenty-five percent American wood and tipped the scales (in this very ripe vintage!) at a very civilized 12.6 percent alcohol. The deep and beautifully complex nose offers up scents of cassis, cherries, a touch of mint, “weedy” cabernet overtones, tobacco leaf, a lovely base of Rutherford soil tones and still just a whisper of stemminess in the upper register. There is also a faint whiff of horsiness, which I assume is from a bit of brettanomyces here, but it is far from off-putting (at least to me). On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, complex and very refined in style, with lovely focus and balance, impressive complexity and fine length and grip on the modestly tannic finish. This still has decades of life in it. The 1974 vintage is not my favorite from the Mondavis in this decade, as it is not quite as elegant as years such as ’75 or ’78 here, but the wine is certainly very, very well-made and will continue to drink well for many years to come. (Drink between 2008-2035)  (9/2012)

Jancis Robinson

 Very dark healthy crimson. Gorgeous coffee plus rich sweet fruit. Just lovely balance! So sweet and gorgeous. Complete. Any bordeaux would be so proud to taste like this! Neat - not massive but utterly seductive. Not much further to go. 18.5/20 points (JR)  (6/2009)

Wine Spectator

 Aging gracefully, this is still complex, with a theme of currant, plum and anise. Mature tannins. Robert Mondavi vertical (December 2015). Drink now. (JL Web Only-2016)

K&L Notes

97 points Wine Advocate's Neal Martin: "Tasted at the Robert Mondavi Cabernet Reserve vertical. A similar hue to the 1976: exceptionally clear. The nose is very expressive, a bouquet with open arms, touches of molasses once again, peppermint, nutmeg and hint of lemongrass. Beautiful definition. The palate is medium-bodied, very fine tannins, perhaps more so than the 1976 although it does not have quite the same depth of concentration and complexity. But there is a compelling core of dates, spice, cooked meats, citrus lemon and candied orange peel. This is as good as any mature Claret I have tasted of similar age. Awesome. Tasted June 2009." (Wine Journal, 11/2009)

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Price: $249.99
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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.