The fruit's rich flavors, ripe tannins and balanced acidity enabled Michael to craft an Cabernet Sauvignon of unmatched richness, elegance and harmony. After the grapes were gently hand-harvested and the individual clusters selected, they were de-stemmed and lightly crushed. The juice was fermented in small punch down tanks. An extended post-fermentation maceration of 18-22 days fully married the wine's rich black fruit flavors and supple, sculpted tannins. The young wine was then moved to barrel for malolactic fermentation. During its 22 months in French oak barrels (85% new) the wine was racked several times. Determined by taste, the 2006 received four rack and return movements. It was clarified with a light egg-white fining in barrel, using organic eggs, and spent 15 months in bottle prior to release. Stylistically reminiscent of the legendary Mondavi cabernets of the late 1960s and early 1970s, crafted by Michael, is a prestigious wine reflecting the animo, or "soul," of its maker: compelling, dynamic, and elegant.
"More primary is the 2006 M (900 cases, again made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon). It avoids the rustic, somewhat astringent tannins that some Cabernets from Napa have in this vintage. This is a stronger effort in 2006 than was 2005. Dark, slightly more saturated, youthful plum/ruby/purple, with notes of licorice, scorched earth, and burning embers, the wine is structured, but displays terrific fruit intensity, medium to full body, and lots of upside potential. This is a young wine that I would cellar for 2-3 years and drink over the following 25 years.
Former Mondavi CEO Michael Mondavi has his own boutique operation on Atlas Peak. It includes 17 acres planted on a hillside elevation of approximately 1,600 feet in volcanic white tufa. This site was once used as part of the blend for Opus One, but it is owned by Mondavi, who produces between 700 and 1,000 cases. This is, for the most part, a European, Bordeaux-styled wine, with more structure and firmness than many Napa Cabernets display in their youth.
The Wine Advocate