2001 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve
Last edited on 6/8/2011 by Eric
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(Back of bottle: "I love this wine's intense dark fruit character with mineral, violet and earthy truffle complexity. The muscular tannins are beautifully integrated, imparting both elegance and ageability. The grapes come from our finest vineyards on the Oakville bench surrounding our winery, and the wine was gently handcrafted in our new gravity-flow fermentation cellar. Aging in new French oak chateau barrels wove oak spices and a sensation on f the plushest velvet through the lingering flavors." Tim Mondavi, Winegrower.)
Deep, intense dark fruit character, with mineral, violet and earthy truffle complexity, distinguishes our 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. The wine is powerful yet elegant, with beautifully integrated firm, muscular tannins, promising long aging potential. Selected from our finest vineyards, our Napa Valley Reserve captures the complex flavor profile and exquisite balance of the Oakville bench region. The wine was handcrafted in our new To Kalon Fermentation Cellar with traditional techniques, including hand-sorting of the clusters, gravity-flow movement of the must and wine, and fermentation in a traditional oak tank. Sixteen months of aging in new French oak château barrels added vanilla and toasty oak accents. To retain fully this wine’s enormous depth, texture and length of finish, we bottled it without fining or filtration and captured the wine’s rich, seductive character. Firm, integrated tannins for aging, persistent finish. Powerful, yet extremely elegant.
Varietal blend: 88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot
The 2001 growing season experienced one of the longest bloom-to-harvest periods in recent history. Long hang-time on the vine (averaging 140 days) resulted in exceptional flavors in Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Cumulative degree days were high (~3254) because of the warm spring. Rainfall in Oakville was below-average at 25½”. The average date for budbreak was March 30; for bloom May 19; and for veraison July 23. After one of the earliest onsets of harvest in the last 20 years (August 8), the weather changed and harvest became one of the longest in duration, with the last grapes picked at the end of October. We had predicted an early harvest since budbreak, bloom and veraison were ahead of normal. Brix levels (sugars) rose very quickly in the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes to the mid-20s two weeks before a normal harvest date. We waited for the flavors to fully mature and for the tannins to soften before harvesting the grapes for this wine between October 2 and 16.
Grapes: (Average) 24.9º Brix with 0.69% initial acid and 3.74 pH
Certain vineyards, because of outstanding clones, soils, exposure, mesoclimates and cultivation techniques, yield grapes rich in varietal character with impeccable balance. These sites consistently produce the most expressive and complex wines with great structure and aging potential. For our 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, we selected 98% of the grapes from the well-draining bench lands of the Oakville AVA (American Viticultural Area), with 50% grown in the Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard. We selected balance from Robert Mondavi Wappo Hill Vineyard in the Stags Leap District AVA.
Grape Sourcing: 98% Oakville AVA, 2% Stags Leap District AVA
FERMENTATION AND AGING
We hand-harvested the fruit into small 40 lb. boxes and then hand-sorted it on tables in our To Kalon Fermentation Cellar for optimum quality. The clusters were gently de-stemmed directly into one of our new, 17-ton oak fermenting tanks. This technique eliminates pumping of the must and possible extraction of harsh tannins from the seeds. We fermented the wine with half native and half cultured yeast for layers of complexity. In the oak tank, we were able to maintain the warmth of fermentation throughout the 32-day period of extended skin contact, in an environment of controlled oxygen contact, resulting in a concentrated wine with refined, supple tannins. After the maceration period, the free-run wine was drained off the pomace and the drop gate was opened to gravity-convey the pomace to a wooden Marzola basket press. The wine was aged in traditional willow-hoop French oak barrels (100% new oak) for 16 months. During aging, we gently clarified the wine with barrel-to-barrel rackings. The wine was bottled without fining or filtration.
Wine analysis: 0.60% total acid, 3.76 pH, 0.08% residual sugar, and 14.6% alcohol, by volume