Visiting Chez Mondavi, and Top 10 Wines of the Week
I go today (Thursday, when I posted this) to Rob Mondavi’s place, up in the Carneros, for dinner. He invited me to meet some of his friends, none of whom is older than 45. They represent a new, upcoming generation in Napa Valley. Some have familiar last names (Burgess, Gott, Mondavi, Steltzner, Truchard, Viader) but, as the sons and daughters of veterans, are establishing their own reputations. Others are not known to me.
In the case of a younger winemaker taking the helm in Napa Valley, think of the weight they must feel pressing down on their shoulders. Tradition. Expectations. Quality. And, yes, reviews. When you make wine in Napa Valley you are playing in the NFL, the NBA, Major League Baseball. Especially in these perilous economic times, they have got to experience some angst every once in a while. Can you keep the family tradition going forward into the second decade of the 21st century? Can you make a success from the career you’ve chosen, and upon which you’re risking a great deal? Will you let your parents down?
I’m looking forward to this event with a keener anticipation than many other things I’ve gone to lately. I’ll let you know how it went.
Meanwhile, here are the top 10 wines of this past week.
Bartalotti 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford. $60, 144 cases, 15.2%.
Robert Mondavi 2008 I Block Fume Blanc, Oakville. $75, case production not revealed, 14.7%.
Robert Mondavi 2008 Reserve Chardonnay, Napa Valley. $40, case production not revealed, 14.2%.
Chime 2009 Pinot Noir, Sonoma County. $19, 1,100 cases, 14.4%.
Sean Thackrey 2008 Devil’s Gulch Ranch “Andromeda” Pinot Noir, Marin County. $45, 700 cases, 14.4%.
Calera 2008 Ryan Pinot Noir, Mt. Harlan. $40, 2,856 cases, 14.9%.
Laird 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley. $16, case production not revealed, 13.8%.
Volker Eisele 2007 Terzetto Bordeaux blend, Napa Valley. $75, 450 cases, 14.7%.
Cambria 2008 Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley. $22, case production not revealed, 14.5%.
Vine Cliff 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. $55, 1,200 cases, 14.3%.