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Robert Mondavi 2014 Maestro Red (Napa Valley)

Shiny, inky ruby with a narrow pink rim, pointing to quite some ageing potential. On the nose, fresh, juicy plum and cassis, with hints of cinnamon and cocoa. The palate reflects the same, adding dimensions of lush Cabernet note(green olives, mint, liquorice, leaves), warm spices, fine tannins and lead pencil. 'Mondavi' in style for immediate enjoyment now, this Maestro 2014 is, albeit, a serious one, since Maestro marketers say that the final blend assembles through repeated tasting trials over the 21 months of barrel ageing!

The packing is nice. Classy bottle, nice cork and a label that recalls the glamourise of Croix de Ducru Beaucaillou(the Second Wine of Ducru) by the British jewellery designer Jade Jagger.

A Bordeaux blend of 73 percent cabernet sauvignon, 23 percent cabernet franc and two percent each of Merlot and Petit Verdot, this is a sophisticated blockbuster for those who love big Left-bank Bordeaux that have enough acidity and finesse to pair with food. To our surprise, it is a little silkier than we thought and with an even softer mouthfeel than the Merlot-based, 2013 Maestro.

Why? We offer our reasoning as follows.

  1. Hand-picked grapes transported to the vats with small crates and carefully sorted at the winery’s gravity-flow cellar, hence a juicy and ripe 2014 Maestro with Cabernet majority.

  2. Destemmed grapes go directly into traditional French oak casks for a cool soak, fermentation and extended maceration, hence the silkiness.

  3. Extended skins contact for 24 days, bring maximum extraction of varietal characteristics, hence the structure and specific complexities.

  4. Gentle drain plus light press into 28 percent new French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation, hence the wood with sweet spice profile.

This Maestro is worth keeping, partly because the vintage is as good as 2013 and 2015 vintages and its composition(14.5% ABV and 5.9 g/L Acid). With a 94 Points from Meredith May(Editor of three referenced food and wine magazines in LA), Maestro is intended as the wine to mark a special occasion for the winery–their 50th anniversary. It will improve with bottle age as well though it can be for now.

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