Not sure who I need to thank most? If it weren’t for Yves Borguet and Pete Stolpman being so clueless I would have never received that phone call from Michael Mondavi nor his invite to have me to stay at his guest house in Napa Valley.
If you don’t what I’m talking about – rather than recounting a long but pretty hilarious story – get caught up here by reading wine blogger Blake Gray’s summation of my spat with Stolpman Winery.
Okay, now that I’ve got everyone up to speed.
As we pulled up the driveway to Michael Mondavi’s guest house I couldn’t help but laugh
realizing that the Stolpman Saga was the reason I was here. My long overdue trip to Napa Valley was accompanied by good friends Pat Travis
(long time staple here at FranksWine
), Fran Stellini
(wine rep with Constantine Wines who provides my shop with stellar Napa jewels – more on that in October!) and Troy Brady
(customer and running partner – who by the way just completed his first 100 miler!) Yup, it was a guy trip.
After settling in and unpacking our bags we grabbed a bottle of Isabel Mondavi 2011 Carneros Chardonnay out of the fridge and cracked it on the back deck. Okay, it’s obvious that the sincere thanks goes to Michael Mondavi… again, Michael, your gracious hospitality was greatly appreciated!
(Left to Right: At Michael Mondavi Vineyards in Napa Valley, Frank Pagliaro, David Durden, Troy Brady, Patrick Travis, & Fran Stellini)
Next up was meeting and tasting with director of sales David Durden. We started out with the Isabel Mondavi 2012 Deep Rosé of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon… a gorgeous wine and one of the four later featured at the shop.
4 extremely different styles of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
The prized 100% Cabernet Sauvignon utilized for one exclusive barrel of “M”, is located on a small knoll in the corner of the vineyard high atop Atlas Peak at an elevation of 1,350 feet on 15 acres of rocky, volcanic soil. It takes several harvest days to provide the perfectly ripe and balanced fruit from this block.
The fruit’s rich flavors, ripe tannins and balanced acidity enabled Michael to craft an “M” 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 into small punch down tanks. After a five day cold soak period, the juice was fermented at 27-30°C. Extended post-fermentation maceration brings the total skin contact time to 28-32 days fully marrying 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 oakbarrels (87% new) the wine was racked several times.
Determined by taste, the 2007 “M” received seven rack and return movements. It was clarified with a light egg-white fining in barrel, using organic eggs, andspent 15 months in bottle prior to release.
Stylistically reminiscent of the legendary Mondavi Cabernets of the late 1960s and early 1970s, crafted by Michael, M is a prestigious wine reflecting the animo, or “soul,” of its maker: compelling, dynamic, and elegant.
To create Emblem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Michael sourced grapes from Napa Valley’s finest winegrowing regions to create a blend that truly represents the entirety of Napa Valley – fruit from hillside vineyards at their Oso estate in Northeast Napa and Suscol Ranch in Southern Napa were blended with valley floor fruit from Oak Knoll and Wooden Valley. By blending fruit from Napa’s volcanic hillside soils and the deeper alluvial soils of the valley floor, we accomplished our goal of crafting a wine that boasts a beautifully rounded mouthfeel and layers of rich, complex flavors.
After the grapes were gently hand-harvested, de-stemmed and crushed, the juice fermented in temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks, with an extended post-fermentation maceration that beautifully married flavors and tannins, giving Emblem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon its lovely,seamless texture. Malolactic fermentation in barrel, combined with 18 months aging in French oak, further concentrated the wine’s rich cherry, dark berry, and cassis flavors, adding subtle nuances of toasted vanilla and toffee.