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Animo by Michael Mondavi Heritage Sauvignon Blanc 2015

Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley, California
  • WE94
  • JS92
14.4% ABV
  • JS93
  • WE94
  • RP92
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14.4% ABV

Winemaker Notes

The wine is electrifying and fresh. Firm white nectarine and mangos, lime zest, fresh passion fruit are intertwined with an aspect of remarkable minerality and broken quartz throughout the entirety of the wine. A firm texture, electric with a clean yet slightly creamy finish.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 94
Wine Enthusiast
Following on a successful prior vintage, this doesn’t skip a beat, gracefully exuding beguiling floral notes and a gravelly undercurrent of texture. White peach and vanilla add to a lush, seductive medium-bodied palate that’s brightly complex.
JS 92
James Suckling
A luscious white with sliced apple, lemon curd and grapefruit. Medium to full body. Tangy and zesty. The Mondavi magic of Sauvignon Blanc from the 1980s.
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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.

Sauvignon Blanc

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A crisp, refreshing variety that equally reflects both terroir and varietal character, Sauvignon blanc is responsible for a vast array of wine styles. However, a couple of commonalities always exist—namely, zesty acidity and intense aromatics. The variety is of French provenance, and here is most important in Bordeaux and the Loire Valley. It also shines in New Zealand, California, Australia and parts of northeastern Italy. Chile and South Africa are excellent sources of high-quality, value-priced Sauvignon blanc.

In the Glass

From its homeland In Bordeaux, winemakers prefer to blend it with Sémillon to produce a softer, richer style. In the Loire Valley, it expresses citrus, flint and smoky flavors, especially from in Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume. Marlborough, New Zealand often produces a pungent and racy version, often reminiscent of cut grass, gooseberry and grapefruit. California produces fruity and rich oak-aged versions as well as snappy and fresh, Sauvignon blancs, which never see any oak.

Perfect Pairings

The freshness of Sauvignon Blanc’s flavor lends it to a range of light, summery dishes including salad, seafood and mild Asian cuisine. Sauvignon Blanc settles in comfortably at the table with notoriously difficult foods like artichokes or asparagus. When combined with Sémillon (and perhaps some oak), it can be paired with more complex seafood and chicken dishes.

Sommelier Secret

Along with Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc is the proud parent of Cabernet Sauvignon. That green bell pepper aroma that all three varieties share is no coincidence—it comes from a high concentration of pyrazines (an herbaceous aromatic compound) inherent to each member of the family.

RPT35959398_2015 Item# 214463