Wine Talk

Snooth User: dmcker

*Very* attractive '98 Mondavi Reserve offer

Posted by dmcker, Dec 4, 2011.

Just noticed the offer from BP Wine I copy at bottom of this post, in my mailbox. A great price for an oldskool Napa at about its peak.

To add a little more context, here's some commentary on the wine I posted in a thread in this Forum nearly a year and a half ago:

Reply by dmcker, Aug 23, 2010. Edit

Depending on the winery, '98 is one of my favorite vintages from the '90s--nowadays, anyway, and from a producer where the winemaker knew what he or she was doing.

'98 followed on '97, which was announced by the Parkers and WSs as the vintage of the century. Guess what? Fruit was huge and in many cases overripe, and yield was high. '98 started with some El Nino nastiness, and bud break was problematic. Weather issues continued, and staff in the vineyard had to work hard, as later did the blenders. Yield was low. Wine journalists and critics jumped to hasty conclusions and slammed the vintage. Then, and since then, '98 product became difficult to move.

Strangely, if you taste, say, a '97 against a '98 of Mondavi's Reserve Cab, which I did a year or so ago, you might just see that the '97 is now hollow and has lost a dimension or two, while the '98 has evolved into a delightful, nuanced wine. It's probably near its peak now, though, unlike the larger '99 and 2001 which I also drank at the time. A Dominus '98 which I had a little later was also just plain lovely. I haven't had a Caymus or Stag's Leap from that vintage in the past five years.

Since I love the joys that good aged wine, Bordeaux blends or otherwise, can bring to the table and palate, this is just one more reason to lament the trend in recent years towards wines with huge, easily-appreciable-early-on fruit. They just have no staying power (nor are they usually that interesting to start with, anyway). And of course you know what they say about how wine's always better when the grapes have to work harder.

So I'd say there's nothing wrong with '98s in Napa in general, especially since the market thinks otherwise and prices are thus relatively lower. I wouldn't hold onto those bottles for another decade or two, but you could be in for a very pleasant surprise when you open them before that...


And here's a C&P of the offer:

Dear Oenophile,

I apologize for the Saturday email, but this couldn't wait. Late Friday I got a call. That call made me drop what I was doing, check the bank account, and buy all I could of what I was being offered. What a price! I mean....well, what a price!! For perfectly stored, perfectly drinking Napa Cabernet from a blue-chip producer?

 1998 Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

 Winery: $120
Average Online Price: $96
Lowest Online: $59

OUR PRICE: $49.99! ($299.94 a 6-pack!)

This classic Napa cabernet is drinking fabulously. It is elegant, balanced, harmonious, not really at its peak, but perhaps another 5-7 years to maturity and then will hold for another 5 or so. The vintage was overshadowed by 97 and 99, but Francophiles and those a bit bored with massive pedal-to-the-metal wines will certainly LOVE this. Some recent comments (all 2011) from like-minded oenophiles on Cellartracker..."Lovely wine - nice color, nose and a velvety finish...Lovely nose, rich leathery fruit. Beautiful in the mouth, long, rich, still nice acidity. Good length. This is a really nice wine. I continue to find that the 1998 Cali cabs have aged very nicely. Drinking great right now...Beautiful dark inky color with a slight brownish tint, big nose with oak & dark fruit. Moderate oak & and jammy fruit on the palate with a wonderful mouth feel. This wine is ready to drink. Keeping in the cellar will not improve @ this point. But it will be fine for 3-7 more years in the cellar...."

Anyway, I thought you should know. I know I'm getting a case! We have about 250 bottles to sell and they will sell out in a flash. ARRIVES IN 2 WEEKS! Best to order online, otherwise all orders will be handled on Monday (if there is any left)! --Stefan   buy online at BPWine HERE





Reply by JonDerry, Dec 4, 2011.

Good find D, wasn't expecting the price to be at $49 for this.

Interesting that they handpicked the best and recent quote CellarTracker...

Reply by dmcker, Dec 5, 2011.

Anybody else having trouble reading my complete original post? On both Firefox and Chrome the text bleeds right, and the ends of the lines on both my initial commentary and the BPWine cut-and-paste at bottom are effectively masked. Somehow the C&P from the old Snooth post is fine, however.

Reply by JonDerry, Dec 5, 2011.

Yeah, I get the same thing on FireFox

Reply by EMark, Dec 5, 2011.

Same on IE.

I am able to read the $49.99 price and have to agree that that is awesome.

Reply by Chris Carpita, Dec 5, 2011.

Sorry guys, should be fixed

Reply by dmcker, Dec 5, 2011.

I thought I already posted this a few mintues ago, but it seems to have disappeared into the ether and ain't showing up now...


Thanks, Chris. Looks fine on Firefox now. Haven't used Chrome or Safari yet and will let you know when I do if the problem still exists.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 8, 2011.

I saw that deal right after I looked at CT and saw how full my "cellar" had become and how much Cali Cab was in there already. Then I smacked my forehead.  It's a terrific price. Then they followed it up with an offer for some 2001 Cali Cabs that looked very interesting, too.  Having too much wine on hand is a good problem to have, I guess, but sometimes I wish there were two of me to drink it all.  That Mondavi is going to be a "drink now" proposition, but it's great to find wine that has been handled well and aged for you and at that price?  Wow.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Dec 8, 2011.

Thanks for the tip D

I pulled the trigger on two bottles. It seems like a great way to experience some California Cab with some real nice age on it.  Cellar space be damned.  So, I added a 2002 Leonetti Sangiovese and 2007 Five Star Merlot on for good measure.  Economies of scale etc etc...

Reply by Richard Foxall, Dec 9, 2011.

VV: I've purchased from BPWines and it does make sense to order up to a case at a time.  They will also hold it for you while you fill a case, up to 6 months, in their shop/cellar.  I haven't been in the place so I cannot vouch for the temp control, but they are open to the public, and they do sell to (and buy from) a lot of big names in Napa, so I think that bodes well.  Any amount shipped up to a case is $9 (a total steal) and, because I have it shipped to an office that's conveniently located, they have delivered first thing in the morning on a day of my choosing!  That's service. 

As for the wines I have purchased from them, some have been fantastic (Bell Cabs, and we'll see about the Dunn b-year bottles in another 11 to 13 years) and some have been okay (Lamborghini Campeleone, Centonze Nero d'Avola, Casanuovo delle Cerbaie Brunello--a critical darling whose reviews I relied on), but they are a terrific go-to resource for older bottles and only rarely are they underpriced.  On this one, JJBuckley has the wine, too, but at $60--still a good price, but not the crushingly good price BP has.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Dec 30, 2011.

My wine (finally) arrived yesterday.  Twenty one days after I placed my order.  I got an order confirmation but nothing else until the Fedex tracking email showed up in by inbox.  I was getting a bit worried so gave BP Wine a call last week after checking my order history and having the tracking link go to the UPS website with a bad tracking number. 

The person I talked to was polite and checked on my order status for me.  Turns out they did not have the Mondavi in stock and had to wait for it to arrive before it could be shipped - makes sense!  Too bad I had to call them to get a status on my order.  This seems to be the type of thing you would tell your customer on the order confirmation.

This was my first order with BP Wine.  I was disappointed with the BP website, but was happy about the customer service when calling on the phone. 

I would have liked more communication about my order status via email.  I would also expect their website to include links for shipment tracking that go to the correct carrier's website with an accurate tracking number!

It sounds like Foxall has had good service with BP in the past.  Does anybody else have good or bad feedback on the BPWine service levels?

Reply by dmcker, Dec 30, 2011.

Great response for any of my orders. Great selection, too. Energetic folks with good pricing, and good provenance/bottle condition. They and Benchmark and Rarewineco are the best out of Napa/Sonoma in my experience.

Can't help but think the time of year may have had something to do with it, too, Vello.

Reply by Lucha Vino, Dec 31, 2011.

Thanks D.  Good to know!  I'm sure I will order from them again when another "can't miss deal" comes along...

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