Quick TN - 1974 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet

This was shared by someone who had purchased a 6 pack at a local wine auction. The bottle looked pristine - the only ‘concern’ was, after taking off the foil, it was apparent that the cork was completely soaked through (but there was zero seepage on the bottle itself). The opening was left to me - ironic with my penchant for screw cap wines - and I was able to get it out in a single piece using a traditional cork screw (no ah-so available).

No decanting and no slow ox - we dug right in. Color on first pour was quite impressive for a 44 year old CA cab - no noticeable bricking at all. First aromas were tertiary in nature - mushroom, beef bullion - not much fruit to speak of. We just allowed the wine to open on its own and enjoyed it over the next three hours - and the wine kept opening and expanding the entire way through.

Fruit began emerging - a wonderful cherry to go along with leather, earth, and anise. As the night went on, I picked up some wonderful cinnamon to go along with all the other stuff - and the wine still had some acidity and a touch of structure as well.

All in all, a very impressive wine - and I hope to be around when the next bottle is open as well.


Larry. Great note. I was lucky enough to have this wine blind in 2008. I remember the meaty element as well. I actually thought it could have been a Grange.

Great note Larry. I’ve tasted a few of these, but not this century.

Thanks for posting this TN!! It was a great night with your ‘07 Grenache Blanc also drinking beautiful! It was great to see how the ‘74 evolved throughout the night…and the color was just perfect! Got two more bottles with my name on it! It will be waiting for your next Ojai visit!!

Very cool to hear. I have a '69 I’m hoping will have some similar qualities when I open it up.

Thanks for sharing Larry. I’ve never tried the 74’ but have luckily tried the 79’ a few times which I loved. The perfume is intoxicating and I was surprised how alive the wine is still drinking. Just throwing it out there, pass on the 82’, I’ve tried it multiple times in the last couple of years and each time is was a dud.

Had a bottle of 1970 a few weeks ago that was great.

Awesome note, Larry! Thanks for sharing. Sounds like a great showing.

I recently opened a '73 of this, initially pretty pruny/stale coffee it actually needed quite a bit of air to freshen up. After that it was a pretty enjoyable, if not profound old Cabernet.

The 74 Mondavi Reserve was the wine that took the training wheels off my exploration of wine in the late seventies. I was on a consulting project with a colleague who was about 10 years older than me and he ordered it for dinner one night.