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Animo by Michael Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, California
  • CG90
  • WE90
14.3% ABV
  • JS95
  • RP94
  • JS93
  • WE91
  • WE94
  • JS93
  • RP91
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14.3% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The Cabernet Sauvignon for Animo is grown outside the vineyard's Crown Block at slightly lower elevations, and is an approachable wine in its youth. Deep and luscious, Animo is a modern, fruit-driven Cabernet which retains a genuine, built-to-last mountain character.

Varietal: 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot

Critical Acclaim

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CG 90
Connoisseurs' Guide
By Michael Mondavi. 17% Petit Verdot. There is an implied sense of fruity muscle and depth to the youthful and yet very complex aromas of this aromatically involving effort, and, what follows in flavor confirms each and every impression. The wine is full and just slightly supple with a straight spine afforded from its fairly sizeable tannins, but even though young and somewhat tough, it never once loses sight of very rich fruit. It is not one to drink straightaway unless one is wholly inured to astringency, but it has all the right pieces in all the right places to age famously for a very long time.
WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
Sourced from high atop Michael Mondavi's Atlas Peak vineyards, this is feral and intense in black currant liqueur and leather, the mountain tannins up front and fierce.
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Animo by Michael Mondavi

Animo by Michael Mondavi

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Animo by Michael Mondavi, Napa Valley, California
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Seeking vineyards that would form the foundation of his family estate, Michael Mondavi zeroed-in on a particularly rugged, Manzanita-dotted parcel high on Atlas Peak in the Vaca Mountain range of southeastern Napa Valley. As Michael surveyed the site with his family, his daughter Dina remarked, "Dad, this place has animo."

Animo is an Italian word for heart or spirit. In the family’s experience, some vineyards have it, and some don’t - a pervading spirit that presents the opportunity of producing something that is truly exceptional. An experienced vintner recognizes the dormant energy of such a site before it has even been planted, its potential evident in the raw material, from the soil to the curvature of the land and sun exposures.

Michael Mondavi sensed the potential of Animo at first sight, and the continually developing wines that are produced here have spirit to spare. The Animo Vineyard is planted to a mere 15 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon vines in soil composed of a relatively uniform rocky volcanic tufa infused with red streaks of iron. The vines climb from an elevation of 1,200 to 1,350 feet on the slope of Atlas Peak, overlooking Napa Valley. At this elevation, the grapes enjoy a protracted growing season, and harvest generally extends well into October. Variations in elevation and sun exposure require numerous picking passes at harvest time. The attention paid to each individual vine is reflected in the quality of the finished wine.

Napa Valley

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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 1960's, 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 1980's, 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. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific 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 is 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 reds 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. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

Cabernet Sauvignon

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A noble variety bestowed with both power and concentration, Cabernet Sauvignon is now the world's most planted grape variety. Inherently high in tannins and acidity, the best bottlings of Cabernet can age beautifully, with the ability to last fifty years or more. Cabernet Sauvignon flourishes in temperate climates like Bordeaux's Medoc region and forms the base of the Medoc reds, which are typically mostly Cabernet with Merlot and smaller amounts of some combination of Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. (Enjoying a great deal of success in various regions around the world, this blend is now globally referred to as a Bordeaux Blend.) Cabernet Sauvignon has enjoyed great success throughout the world, particularly in the Napa Valley, and is responsible for some of the world’s most prestigious and sought-after “cult” wines.

In the Glass

High in color, tannin and extract, Cabernet Sauvignon expresses notes of blackberry, cassis, plum, currant, spice and tobacco. In Bordeaux and elsewhere in the Old World you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it is typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California Washington, Argentina, Chile and Australia, you can typically expect more ripe fruit flavors upfront.

Perfect Pairings

Cabernet Sauvignon is right at home with rich, intense meat dishes—beef, lamb and venison, in particular—where its opulent fruit and decisive tannins make an equal match to the dense protein of the meat. With a mature Cabernet, opt for tender, slow-cooked meat dishes.

Sommelier Secrets

Despite the modern importance and ubiquity of Cabernet Sauvignon, it is actually a relatively young variety. In 1997, DNA profiling revealed the grape to be a spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc which took place in 17th century southwestern France.

YNG546121_2010 Item# 134972