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. "
M by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
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.
The Wine Advocate - "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.
M by Michael Mondavi Winery
Four generations of passion and experience have come together to create the winery and the wines. It started in 1919 when Michael Mondavi's grandfather, Cesare, was elected to find grapes and winemaking supplies for families to make wine legally during Prohibition. Thus, the Mondavi family began their foray into California winemaking. Michael Mondavi Family Estate embodies Michael's vision of a great, single vineyard, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, crafted from 100% estate grown fruit from high atop Atlas Peak on 15 acres of rocky, volcanic soil. It is stylistically reminiscent of the legendary Mondavi Cabernets that Michael made in the late 1960s and early 1970s - complex and subtle. View all M by Michael Mondavi Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.