Saturday, September 22, 2012

Aged Napa Cabs - Mondavi Reserve - Rubissow-Sargent

Aged Napa Valley Cabernets - Robert Mondavi Reserve 1992 - 1993 and Rubissow-Sargent Mt Veeder 1996

For a grilled sirloin steak dinner Bill & Beth showed up with a Robert Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1993, so we trolled the cellar and pulled out a 1992 for a mini-vertical tasting. We'd already set aside a Rubissow-Sargent Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1996 which provided a good comparison tasting to the similarly aged Napa Cabs.

For an starter course Linda prepared grilled lobster tail medallions which we served with Penn Shore Lake Erie Diamond - a semi sweet varietal wine from the southeastern shore of Lake Erie at the New York Pennsylvania border appellation. This was a perfect complement pairing to the hearty lobster - standing up to the full bodied, chewy unctuous tangy Diamond with its essence and layers of peach, clove, vanilla, hints of honey, cinnamon and tangy citrus.  

We discovered and purchased this wine at the winery during our recent tour of the Lake Erie Appellation and featured the Penn Shore Diamond in a recent wine tasting.

RM 88 points.

We had already pulled and decanted the Rubissow-Sargent to commemorate our discovery with Bill and Beth, Eric & Cathy, and Jan & Bill during our winery visit on Mt Veeder during our Napa Valley Wine Experience last year.

To finish we open a  Herbert Triebaumer Ruster Ausbruch, Rust, Burgenland, Neusiedlersee-Hügelland,  Austria 1996/87. "Ruster" is the town where the grapes are grown in the appellation of Rust, while “Ausbruch” describes the method of selecting and picking the most perfectly shriveled & botrytized grapes. While at one time this was probably butter colored, this exhibited a bright reddish rust weak tea color with a medium body.  Gone are the layers of peach and apricot that have given way to smoke, quince, honey and tangy lemons with aromas of vanilla. 

RM 85 points.

Rubissow Sargent Napa Valley Mt Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon 1996

This wine pays homage to the early years of Tony Sargent and George Rubissow producing hand crafted Bordeaux varietal wines from their mountaintop vineyard at the south end of Napa Mt Veeder. At sixteen years of age, this shows the aging potential of these early releases as this wine is still holding up albeit approaching the end of its prime drinking window.

Dark garnet and purple color, this was medium bodied with pleasant black cherry and black berry fruit aromas, and flavors with a layer of kirsch, anise, tobacco, leather and hint of cedar on a moderate tannin finish.

RM 86 points.

Robert Mondavi Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 1992 and 1993

Bills note from Cellartracker - "Medium garnet color, very restrained nose. Took about two hours for this to open up. Upon popping the cork, this showed signs of being well past prime. Seemed carmelized and thin although the color showed no bricking. Between 90 and 120 minutes, this opened to reveal anise, mocha and graphite and some remaining tannins. Nicely complemented by grilled marinated sirloin with peas and mushrooms and herbed rice with Rick and Linda. Rick provided a 1992 Mondavi Reserve, creating a mini vertical tasting opportunity. Fascinating experience.

The '92 was the better wine, opening earlier with more depth and complexity than the '93 and a deep indigo color. Still not much on the nose. However, as the two opened over a 2 hour period, it was very interesting to see the wines come together in similarity and style. The common heritage became quite evident."

My notes - These two aged vintage cabs both are starting to show their age almost begrudgingly revealing the subdued fruits of modest vintages. They both were a bit closed and tight tasting more like aged left bank Bordeaux than vibrant Napa cabs. Aromas and flavors of black cherry, slightly astringent cherry fruit give way to weak tea, tobacco, leather and graphite. Both were decanted and aerated on opening. The '92 was more full and expressive early on opening, with brighter fruit, albeit subdued, while the '93 was a bit thinner, taking over an hour to reveal its fruit at which time it also showed a layer of anise with hints of mocha and a soft floral essence on the finish.

92 - RM 86 points. 93 - RM 85 points.   

93 -

93 - 

My earlier notes on the 1992 reveal a rather short drinking window, from 3/28/2010 - rated 89 points at that time: Wow, I probably drank most of this case of this Reserve too young!, like I did too many of my 80's decade Bordeaux'. For a long time, this was rather closed and tight, only to now open up to truly reveal its complex, full bodied dark cherry, black berry fruits and long nicely integrated tannin finish. Slightly astringent on opening but softened over time. Needs decanting for aeration and to collect the sediment

This was the second to last bottle of a case purchased upon release. It'll be drinkable for another year or so but will be nearing the end of its drinking window by then.