Robert Mondavi 2014 Maestro, Red Blend, Napa Valley
For the Robert Mondavi Winery's 50th anniversary the winery created the Maestro Red Blend to honor the man who was the guiding inspiration for so many years. Robert Mondavi truly was The Maestro of Napa Valley. For this latest release they've let the outstanding 2014 vintage be the their guiding force, and it's all about the Cabernet Sauvignon, sourcing superb Napa Valley fruit from The Wappo Hill Vineyard in Stags' Leap and the rest from the To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville. The Wappo Hill was a favorite vineyard of Robert Mondavi, who chose it as the site of his own home. And of course To Kalon has a long, distinguished history with Mondavi. The 2014 blend is a change from the prior vintage and is a majority Cabernet Sauvignon; 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. The grapes were hand-harvested into small bins and carefully sorted in the gravity-flow cellar. The clusters were gently destemmed directly into traditional French oak tanks for cold soak, fermentation and extended maceration – a total of 24 days of wine to skin contact – maximizing the extraction of varietal character and complexity while keeping the tannins fleshy and supple. The new wine was drained and gently pressed into 28% new French-oak barrels for malolactic fermentation, assuring seamless integration of fruit and oak. The final blend was assembled through repeated tasting trials over the 21 months of barrel aging. Wine Review Online scored this 92 points saying "The first vintage of Mondavi's Bordeaux-style red blend, Maestro, would be hard to top. The vintage, 2013, was sensational throughout the Napa Valley and excellent wines abounded. The 2014 Maestro doesn't have the magic of the 2013, but it's a solid wine and much different than the previous vintage. For one thing, the scent of eucalyptus dominates the nose. Once that's blown off, the fruit on the palate is dark and brooding, with layers of blackberry and currant. The richness of the fruit offsets a drying, astringent note on the finish, but a few years in the cellar should resolve the tannins. This is a wine to lay down and age for at least another seven to ten years."