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Robert Mondavi Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon 1998

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Winemaker Notes

The Oakville District of Napa Valley has produced Napa Valley's most sought after Cabernet Sauvignons for 130 years. Perhaps the most famous of all the district's producers, Robert Mondavi has been producing Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignons for 50 years. Designated an American Viticultural Area (AVA) in 1993, the Oakville District region is noted for well-drained soils that allow deep rooting and the development of complex flavors in the grapes.

After grapes were gently destemmed and crushed, we fermented the must with a combination of native (wild) and cultured yeast for layers of complexity. To naturally soften the grape tannins and develop varietal complexity, we gave the wine 37 days of skin contact. A long malolactic fermentation conducted entirely in barrels enhanced the wine's depth and body. During 17 months in small French oak barrels (45% new oak), the wine was racked barrel-to-barrel several times and lightly fined with fresh egg whites. Between rackings, the wine was left undisturbed for optimal clarity. These gentle winemaking techniques allowed us to bottle this Cabernet Sauvignon without filtration to fully retain its complex flavors and long aging potential. The 1998 is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Cabernet Franc, 5% Merlot and 1% Malbec.

Great with Rack of Lamb, Beef Tenderloin, and Grilled Flank Steak.

Critical Acclaim

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Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi

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Robert Mondavi, California
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Born to a French family in Morocco and raised in France, Genevieve’s formal wine education began under the tutelage of the legendary “three fathers” of modern enology—Jean Ribereau-Gayon; his son, Pascal Ribereau-Gayon; and Emile Peynaud—with whom she studied at the University of Bordeaux, France. After receiving her National Diploma of Enology 1974, she returned to her family’s vineyards in Corsica and France, which she managed from 1974 to 1977. Concurrently, she also owned and operated her own enology laboratory in Provence and served as consulting enologist to many French chateaux in the mid-seventies. Drawn to Robert Mondavi Winery’s philosophy in winemaking and winegrowing, Genevieve moved to the Napa Valley in 1978. She recognized in Robert Mondavi her father’s holistic approach to quality. “It starts with the earth, the legacy of what she had received from her ancestors and what she was going to leave for the future generation,” she says. “We must work to maintain the land, to grow so that we all live in symbiosis: the earth, the vines, the people—care creates quality.” From 1978–1979, she fully absorbed this philosophy, working at Robert Mondavi Winery as a lab enologist and an assistant enologist. Deeply interested in the winemaking revolution taking hold in the state, Genevieve continued exploring California for the next decade, holding several consulting positions. Genevieve’s connection to Robert Mondavi returned in 1989, when she became Director of Production at Opus One Winery. Then, in 1997, she came full circle as the Director of Winemaking at Robert Mondavi Winery. 

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Home to some of the most sought-after Cabernet Sauvignon in America, Napa Valley’s Oakville district stretches across the center of Napa's valley floor and foothills between the Vaca and Mayacamas Mountains. This AVA is home to the legendary To Kalon Vineyard and Martha's Vineyard, as well as many powerhouse wineries including Screaming Eagle, Silver Oak, Robert Mondavi, Opus One, Far Niente and Groth.

The climate is generally warm and agreeable, resulting in year after year of favorable vintages. Summer days see a gentle tug of war between warmer inland air and the cool air coming in from the San Pablo Bay, creating an ideal environment to grow red varieties. Oakville's diverse soils, namely ancient sea bedrock, clay and gravel, are well-drained, and perfect for high-caliber viticulture.

Cabernet here is often bottled varietally but is also popular in Bordeaux Blends. Oakville wines are known for their silky, sensual textures, structured tannins, dark and brooding fruit and lovely aromatics. These age-worthy and prestigious wines are favored by collectors throughout the world.

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux where it forms the base of the Medoc reds. These blends are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines.

Tasting Notes for Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is a dry red wine rich in color, tannin and extract. It expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In the Old World you'll often find the more earthy side of Cabernet. In warmer regions like California, Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more upfront fruit flavors.

Perfect Food Pairings for Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets for Cabernet Sauvignon

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

CAR25037_1998 Item# 26714

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