Michael Mondavi Family State: Generational Winemaking.

Last month, the Michael Mondavi* family came to Boston. Only Isabel (Michael’s wife) didn’t make make the trip, so we had the opportunity to have a very interesting conversation with Michael, Rob, and Dina during an intimate dinner at the Bistro du Midi. Below a couple of tasting notes and some thoughts captured by dear friend and fellow MW student: Stacy Sullivan Woods.

* Michael Mondavi, alongside his wife Isabel, son Rob and daughter Dina, established the Michael Mondavi Family Estate in 2004.














2012 Isabel Mondavi Chardonnay Carneros – Deep concentrated lemon yellow, neutral primary fruit but heavy tertiary aromas butter bomb, medium acid, full bodied, intended for the KJ market. Dijon clone – Primary and secondary fermentation are done at the same time to reduce the ML profile (butter aromas)

SW: Who is this wine intended for? Who is the target consumer? “Mom! We made this wine to make Isabel happy.”  “We also bottled the entire line under screw cap because prefers a twist off to pulling cork” – “We also made this line of wine for consumers who are engaged in wine – #winelover-s” – Rob

“When we went public we became an affliction of our own success. We had to make a wine for the public. Now we only drink and make wine that we would serve at our table” – Michael

“With the Michael Mondavi wines there has been an evolution of taste but also an understanding of yeast and technique.”  “Within the family, individualism matters but also collaboration.  In the end you have to embrace what you believe in.” “The Isabelle brand respects that the adults and the kids have different palates and are different stylistically” “Winemaking is like surfing. I would rather be on the leading edge than drown in the surge.” – Michael

SW:  Do you believe that there is much collaboration amongst wine grape growers and wine makers?”  >>> Rob: “yes, winemakers share their successes and their failures”.

“Brand Mondavi is now a reflection of our family.  A brand that respects and acknowledges that everyone has a different palate” – Michael

“The luxury tier of wine should have vintage to vintage variation.”Rob “Craftsmanship is making the best you can from what you’ve got and the best of the best will shine through.” Michael “Our philosophy is that wine should be the slave of food” – “Big wines don’t invite you to have another sip.” – Michael

“Global warming isn’t and excuse to have over ripeness” – Rob


Isabel Mondavi Pinot Noir 2010

2010 Isabel Mondavi Pinot Noir rose – moderately extracted colored but translucent violet (Brachetto color) intensely aromatic, fruit forward, rich texture Earth and spice on the palate.  Skin contact before alcoholic fermentation. Punch downs add complexity 13%abv – RS 7 g/l – 1800 cases made – Dijon clone – Carneros.

“The most difficult things about making rose is finding berries that fit the aromatic profile you want, and the rate of fermentation.  You have to find yeasts that work at cooler temperatures – they used “VL3 a Sauvignon Blanc yeast for this rose because it performs well and allows for full aromatic expression at cooler temperatures resulting in a deep color and complex aroma.” – Rob

“With Rose you have to be an interpreter for the style of wine you want” – Rob

SW: Does the US have a competitive advantage over it’s European counterparts? >>> “Parts of California can offer a continuity of quality that make them more competitive.  However, the vin ordinaire of 30years ago is not saleable today and all producers need to keep up with that today.” – Michael The Animo line Rob, Dina, and Michael work together but Rob makes the wine. Most of the production is in house – they have their own labs.














Mountain Fruit versus Valley Fruit

Use the Gobelet bush in the mountains because the “sun goes down around the fruit maximizing exposure” “The berry sizes are smaller. There is more texture due to the mineral content whereas the valley fruit tends to be more opulent.  Three is less organic matter in the mountains which results in berries with more intensity and higher concentration”

Drought in 2014? “ Crop will be down roughly about 20%”  – Rob

Are you curious now to go pay them a visit in Napa? Their tasting room is located in the heart of the Carneros growing region on the southern end of Napa Valley. It’s a tranquil spot overlooking our lush estate vineyards and rolling hills, beside their winemaking facility. They invite you to relax, meet the family, enjoy the space and discover their wines.

They have a beautiful, sprawling porch and welcome you to bring a picnic lunch to enjoy with your tasting.

Tasting Room is Open Daily from 11:00am to 5:00pm. (closed Sunday, April 20th for Easter.)

You will be enjoying:
Isabel Mondavi Carneros Chardonnay 2012 – Isabel Mondavi Deep Rose 2012 – Isabel Mondavi Estate Pinot Noir 2010 – Emblem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2011 – Emblem Oso Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Cheers, Luiz Alberto, #winelover

( visit our website: www.winelover.co )

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