1988 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve


A vertical of Robert Mondavi Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve back to the maiden vintage remains one of the best tastings I have ever participated in. It was one of the few occasions where guests refused to leave because the bottles were so good.

This 1988 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a vintage I have not encountered before; I tasted it blind at The Arches at lunch to raise a glass to Harry Gill. I must confess that I initially found the nose a little feral, perhaps with a touch of Brettanomyces. It seems to clarify with aeration with dark, plummy fruit, licorice and peppermint. It just needs a tad more definition. It really comes into its own on the palate, which is quite sweet on the entry. The 1988 shows layers of black fruit laced with orange rind and cassis, with a healthy sprinkling of black pepper at the finish. It coheres beautifully in the glass, and while not quite the heady heights of the late Sixties and early Seventies, this 36-year-old Californian is drinking perfectly. 92/Drink 2024-2036.

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