Reviewer’s Note: Sample of the product discussed here was provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
As much as evaluating wine should be less about one’s personal preferences than about whether the wine’s expressions are true to its established character, I don’t mind expressing my affection for bold, oaky reds. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon does not disappoint on either of those fronts. This medium-full bodied red’s aromatics paint mental images of vanilla-rich crème brulee topped with ripened cherries and blackberries, with portraits of strawberries dipped in whipped chocolate ganache nestled in the background. Imagine these treats served to you on the lid of a Kentucky bourbon barrel, and the wealth of things happening in the rich smell of this wine come into clearer view. In terms of color, it pours as darkly as one might expect of a full-bodied California red, seeming to fill the glass with crimson ink.
To the tongue, it brings an almost buttery roundness led by compote-like berry notes that are enrobed in the same oaky, vanilla creaminess alluded to in its nose. These are touched by chocolate, with a dusting of cinnamon on its finish. Satisfying flavor complexity is aided by the way these sweet elements sand away rougher edges that might have persisted in a less fruity wine with levels of alcohol and acidity levels as significant as are found here. Together they add up to an exciting wine to which aging in bourbon barrels adds dimension that one can smell as well as taste.
This is a wine I would gladly invite to any festive occasion. And with the Kentucky Derby running this weekend, the occasions don’t get much more celebratory. Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon is a delicious choice to toast the ponies as well as enjoying with charcuterie, cold pasta salads, or firing up the grill.