TN: 1971 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Cork came out in one piece but upon opening, it had a strong medicinal scent that made me thought it was corked. However, it blew off with a short decant and what followed was nice nose of green pepper, currants, clove, anise, and that dusty nose you’d get from Rutherford cabs.

Palate wise, cherries, herbs, sweet red fruit with resolved tannins but firm acidity. It definitely had that California juiciness to it and I was amazed how fresh it still was. It lasted for several hours and kept getting better.

It’s always a treat to find a well kept Mondavi Reserves from 70’s and early 80’s. I had a '74 of the same last year courtesy of a fellow Berserker Donn, which was a true revelation. This didn’t live up to that, but certainly was beyond incredible especially given that it’s 50 years old!


I remember that everyone wanted '70s and overlooked '71.

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Obviously never had a 70, but this was a gem!

I have not had 70 or 71 but I have been luck enough to have several 74s, 77s and 78s in the last 2 years and they were all great. (The 74 and 78 were greater than the 77 but it was still a lovely bottle of wine). It is really wonderful how well Napa cabs from the 1970’s held up.

I haven’t had pleasure to taste Mondavi’s Reserve from 70’ or 80’ but for period 1990-1997 Mondavi had incredible run

I’d say '98 and '99 aren’t too shabby either!

Mostly To-Kalon fruit in that period, I believe. Macdonald was the backbone of those old MR’s.

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I haven’t tried any of the 70s but been lucky to try some from the 80s and have been impressed on how well they’ve stood up. Even the regular Cab has done surprisingly well.

Great notes!

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Given the handful of 1970s I have had over the years, I can understand why everyone wanted the 1970s.

The 1971 Ridge Eisele is a bit of a legend.
To me, that says this year was a bit on the cool side.
What I remember about this year is that the Giants lost to the Pirates in the playoffs and they went on to win the World Series.

I know the contract with Macdonald ends soon, but do you know how much of Macdonald fruit goes in or went into recent Mondavi Reserves?

The 1974 RM regular bottling was my AHA moment…those 74’s regular and reserve are truly wonders.