Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
A profusion of aromas - crème de cassis, black cherry coulis, anise,violet, black olive, fresh herb and smoke - spill out of the glass andscent the room. Profoundly deep, complex flavors echo the aroma with firm, well-integrated tannins, vibrant acidity and a long, cocoa-mineral finish.
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During my visit, I was also able to taste the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, which now, at 10 years of age, is showing beautifully, and I’d guess is at the early stages of its prime drinking window. Lots of blackcurrants, tobacco, cedary spice, and a touch of earthy meatiness all flow from this full-bodied, ripe, layered, and beautifully textured Cabernet. A blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Petit Verdot, it has another 10-15 years of prime drinking, then, I suspect, a gradual decline after that.
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a blend of 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet colored, the nose offers up open-knit, mature notes of baked blackberries, warm cassis and plum preserves with touches of dried sage, cigar box and menthol plus touches of smoked meats and charcoal. Medium to full-bodied, the palate leads with a sturdy structure of firm, chewy tannins and oodles of freshness framing the evolved, savory flavors, finishing on a stewed tea note.
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.
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.
A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon enjoys success all over the globe, its best examples showing potential to age beautifully for decades. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in Bordeaux's Medoc where it is often blended with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. In the Napa Valley, ‘Cab’ is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious, age-worthy and sought-after “cult” wines. Somm Secret—DNA profiling in 1997 revealed that Cabernet Sauvignon was born from a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in 17th century southwest France.