Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Chardonnay 2018
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
An abundance of ripe stone and tropical fruit on the nose. It’s full-bodied with aromas and flavors of mango, yellow peach, salted butter and powdered praline. Lightly smoky with a crisp finish. Drink or hold.
Robert Mondavi Winery was founded in 1966 by winemaking pioneer Robert Mondavi, whose vision was to create Napa Valley wines that could stand in the company of the world’s finest. It was the first major winery built in Napa Valley in the three decades following the repeal of Prohibition, Robert Mondavi Winery created the foundation for the modern-day California wine industry. Today, Robert Mondavi Winery continues to pursue the fullest expression of Napa Valley terroir in wines that are also varietally authentic. Mondavi chose to situate his estate next to To Kalon Vineyard, one of the most coveted wine growing parcels in the world, known for producing award-winning Cabernet Sauvignon and for its Sauvignon Blanc.One of the first goals Robert Mondavi set for himself was recreating Sauvignon Blanc, which was, at the time a sweet, unnuanced wine. He sought inspiration in Loire Valley Pouilly Fumé, enlivening it with a uniquely California profile. He named the delightfully rich and refined yet bright, fresh wine he created Fumé Blanc. It’s Sauvignon Blanc, plus so much more. Released in 1968, Fumé Blanc remains Mr. Mondavi’s signature and one of Robert Mondavi Winery’s most popular wines.
The first vintage (1966) of Robert Mondavi Winery's Cabernet Sauvignon is released. A shot heard throughout the Valley, it would inspire the waves of pioneers to follow. In time, the path Robert Mondavi cleared would lead to the creation of some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignons, Chardonnays, Merlots and Sauvignon Blancs in the world.
“Our mission at Robert Mondavi Winery is to produce wines of elegance and complexity that are recognized globally for their exceptional quality,” says Geneviève Janssens, chief winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery.
One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.
The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. White wines from Napa Valley are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific wine characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth red wines with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Napa Valley wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
One of the most popular and versatile white wine grapes, Chardonnay offers a wide range of flavors and styles depending on where it is grown and how it is made. While it tends to flourish in most environments, Chardonnay from its Burgundian homeland produces some of the most remarkable and longest lived examples. California produces both oaky, buttery styles and leaner, European-inspired wines. Somm Secret—The Burgundian subregion of Chablis, while typically using older oak barrels, produces a bright style similar to the unoaked style. Anyone who doesn't like oaky Chardonnay would likely enjoy Chablis.