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Senior editor Alison Napjus joined Wine Spectator in 2000. She is the lead taster for Alsace, Beaujolais and Champagne and also tastes wines from regions throughout Italy.
Alison Napjus

A California Cabernet Name Everyone Knows

Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2004

Alison Napjus
Posted: November 16, 2009

“Is this good?” That’s the question my boyfriend’s mother asked me as she opened a bottle of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2004. “Yes,” I answered right away, although in all honesty it had probably been more than a decade since I tried Mondavi’s basic Cabernet.

Robert Mondavi is a name that even novice wine drinkers know. I have a vivid memory from my college days of choosing the 1997 Mondavi Carneros Pinot Noir over a nameless magnum at a fraction of the cost. Since then I’ve had many opportunities to try the Mondavi Reserve Cabernet, including a memorable bottle from 1978 that was an eye-opener as to the ageability of California Cabernet. But as a confessed Old-World wine lover, I have a hard enough time keeping up with all of California’s new labels, let alone find occasion to revisit old friends.

However, this was a rewarding flashback: The wine was supple, with a great mix of secondary flavors of dried currants and herbs as well as hints of primary cassis fruit. I think it has definitely benefited from a couple years in the cellar (2006 is the current vintage in the marketplace). Particularly because of its seamless integration, I rated this wine 91 points, non-blind. The retail price of $25 to $30 is on the low end for a Napa Valley Cabernet, an added incentive to backtrack for another visit with this solid producer.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2004 (88, $27 on release).

• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Cabernets.

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