Mondavis talk vintages and style

Looking out at the rows of vines in his Animo Vineyard up on Napa Valley’s Atlas Peak, Michael Mondavi comments that he has not seen two back to back vintages in Napa with both high quality and higher yields, as there has been in 2012 and 2013.

Michael Mondavi with daughter Dina and son rob jr in their Animo vineyard

Michael Mondavi with daughter Dina and son rob jr in their Animo vineyard

He dates this recollection back to what he calls his start in the industry—in the 1960s. Having grown up on his family’s historic Charles Krug property, that timeline can likely be stretched even earlier.

In the late 1960s and early 70s, Michael Mondavi worked with his father, Robert, making the wines at the newly opened Robert Mondavi Winery, before taking over sales and marketing.

Michael is eager to talk about the present and introduces several intriguing topics on the drive up to Atlas Peak but he leaves the details for his son, Rob Jr, who is already up in the eastern hills.

It seems wonderfully confluent that today Rob Jr. is making wine at Michael Mondavi Family Estate. While you can find both father and son in the cellar and at the tasting room on Dealy Lane in Carneros, the one place you will certainly find both of them at some point in the day is in the vineyard; they wear their love for winegrowing in their expressions and body language as they stand among the vines. Despite the fact that they were still harvesting, both appeared relaxed and completely comfortable in the Animo Vineyard.

The fruit from Animo was first used for Opus One and the Robert Mondavi Reserve wines. Following the sale of the Robert Mondavi Winery, the family began to realise other visions they had for the grapes.

Animo’s Cabernet Sauvignon is now cultivated especially for the M for Michael Mondavi wine. The desired style harkens back to older Robert Mondavi Reserve wines from the 60s and 70s. While there is riper fruit and alcohols than those earlier decades’ wines, it is great balance they still seek.

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