Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 1996
Rich and complex yet restrained in style, with pretty coffee, currant, black cherry, spice and anise flavors that fan out nicely, this California Cabernet turns particularly elegant and polished on the long finish. Drink now through 2007.
Deep ruby-red. Explosive, somewhat feral, highly aromatic nose of cassis, roast coffee, game, smoky oak and chocolate; shows a very strong torrefaction aspect. Lush, rich and deep; has a pliancy and degree of early personality I find in only the very best young California cabernets. Subtle notes of chocolate and tobacco contribute to the wine appeal. Finishes fairly tannic but very long. Distinctly more layered than the '95.
The color is opaque purple, and the wine reveals more vanillin, a touch of mint, and plenty of black currant fruit in its moderately intense aromatics. Some of the vintage's dry tannin (from this year's stressed vineyard conditions) is present in the wine's finish. A more stylish, restrained, less exuberant example than the 1996 Oakville, it is an outstanding offering that should be consumed between 2002-2025.