Stepping into the Robert Mondavi winery in Napa Valley, is like many other winery visits, you are immediately transported to a blissful haven of scenic beauty and tranquility. Even in the heart of wine country, this popular facility is truly like stepping into paradise. Parking at the winery finds you amongst the rows and rows of grape vines and once you walk under the famed arch of the facility, you immediately step into an amazing courtyard with beautiful gardens back-dropped by more and more vineyards. It is a feast for the senses, and that is before you even find your way into one of the tasting rooms.
As a member of one of the sister wineries, we were greeted in a private, members-only tasting room. The staff was friendly, informative and the wine was scrumptious. There is a reason why Mondavi is such a common name in wine circles. Even many casual wine drinkers are familiar with Mondavi wines. Richard was our host and he was incredibly knowledgeable about the wine, the facility and Mondavi himself. He gave us tips on swirling and tasting.
We learned the To Kalon vineyard, meaning "highest beauty," in Greek, is one of the oldest first-growth vineyards in the world, originally planted in 1868. This particular vineyard produces some of Mondavi's finest wines, including its world class cab and is the exclusive source of the Oakville Fume' Blanc.
All in all, we tasted 10 wines. My roommate and I chose 4 wines each, enabling us to taste 9/10 offered options, Richard kindly threw in the
It was on this tasting where I learned that I prefer Unoaked Chardonnay over Oaked Chardonnay. The 2012 Unoaked Chard was smooth, slightly sweet, yet slightly dry, almost a perfect balance.
Five of the eleven wines we tasted were winery exclusives, as in, you can only purchase them from the winery. I came home with four of the eleven, two of my absolute favorites were:
2013 Pinot Noir Clone 115
2012 Pinot Noir PNX
I also really enjoyed the 2011 Momentum, which is a red blend with 90%
Finally, as true to my form, I purchased the 2013 Moscato
The winery is beautiful, the service exceptional, the wine..
While it is one of the more popular tourist destinations in St Helena, it is completely worthy of your time. If you visit Mondavi, stop by and tell me what you think!