Cabernet, with a touch of bourbon? 2015 Robert Mondavi Cabernet aged in bourbon barrels

Robert Mondavi Cabernet aged in bourbon barrels.

If unique is what you seek, you’ve come to the right place.

I was at the Lake Oswego Safeway a few weeks ago when a sales rep from one of the big local distributors pointed me toward this bottle.

“Try it, you’ll like it” were his exact words.

Just call me Mikey.

I tried it.  I liked it.

And I was pretty surprised.

It’s important to note that there is no bourbon in this wine.  Rather, the cabernet juice ages in barrels that were previously used to age bourbon whiskey.  The result is a mild but unmistakable hint of bourbon which makes this otherwise typical mid-range cabernet quite atypical.

We sampled it in our office.  5 tasters.  5 thumbs up.  The descriptors:  flavors of vanilla, oak & brown sugar.  To me,  it tasted a bit like maple syrup which sounds completely incongruous with what you’d expect from a good red wine.

But strange as it might sound,  the combination works, so much so that this idea…aging red wine in bourbon barrels…has become a mini-trend.   Other winemakers have jumped on board, producing bourbon-influenced cabernet, zinfandel and shiraz.

Before you dismiss this Mondavi cab as a gimmick, try it.  I bet you’ll like it.

It’s definitely interesting.

And if you’ve been shopping for one lately,  you know that finding an “interesting” sub-$15 cabernet these days is a rare feat.

As of June 14, we saw 2015 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon aged in bourbon barrels at:


Safeway   Rose City           $12.77              Safeway  Hawthorne        $12.77

Fred Meyer  Hollywood     $12.99              Fred Meyer  Hawthorne   $12.99

QFC  Burnside & 56th       $13.99


Safeway  NW Lovejoy    $12.77                  Zupan’s Burnside              $15.59

Fred Meyer  Stadium      $12.99                QFC  Barnes & Miller        $13.99

Safeway  Cornell Rd.       $12.77                Fred Meyer Walker Rd.      $12.99

Fred Meyer Beaverton    $12.99                 Fred Meyer Raleigh Hills   $12.99


Fred Meyer   SW Barbur     $12.99              Safeway  SW Barbur         $12.99

Fred Meyer   Tualatin         $12.99              Safeway  Lake Oswego      $12.77