EMBLEM 2014 NAPA VALLEY CABERNET SAUVIGNON-$38
EMBLEM 2016 SONOMA COAST CHARDONNAY-$35
by Dwight Casimere
The Mondavi name is legendary in the world of wine. It follows that what wine the Mondavi family will share around the holiday table is a subject of keen interest. For Rob Mondavi Jr. and Dina Mondavi ,the brother and sister team that co-founded, along with their father Michael, the Michael Mondavi Family Estate, the choices are Emblem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 ($38.00) and 2016 Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast ($35.00).
The Mondavi Family in the vineyards, (l to r) Michael Mondavi, Dina and Rob. Jr.
Emblem Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is a complex, rich wine that deserves to be placed at the centerpiece of the holiday table right next to the Sage-roasted turkey and a nice Standing Rib Roast or slow roasted Goose. At under $40, it delivers complexity and flavor like wines costing three times as much. The Mondavi pedigree is all over this one. Sourced from estate vineyards nestled high above St. Helena, the smells of fresh dark berries and warm vanilla bean are the first to rush to the nose. Followed by the taste of ripe red plums, blackberries, soft, ripe strawberries and a hint of exotic spice from long aging in French oak, this is a standout.
According to Rob Mondavi Jr., every tool of the master wine craftsman was set into play. Grapes were hand harvested and skillfully fermented to extract the colors, flavors, textures and aromas naturally from the skins. After 14 days the grapes were gently pressed and the remaining juice was transferred to 66% new French oak barrels and aged for 18 momths. This is what gives the wine its magnificent taste and structure. With a blend of 79% Cabernet, 8.5% Petit Verdot, 7% Petite Sirah, 4.5% Syrah and 1% Zinfandel,this wine gives credence to the long-held Mondavi philosophy that wine is food. It certainly is the perfect companion to a festive holiday meal.
For Dina Mondavi, the choice is Emblem Sonoma Coast 2016 Chardonnay ($35).Made from 100% Chardonnay grapes from the historic Petaluma Gap, a sub region of the Sonoma Coast appellation, this is wine that is the beneficiary of the Sonoma Coast's ideal wine producing characteristics; consistent morning fog followed by sun-drenched days and cool nighttime breezes that grow vines capable of producing wines of the highest quality.
Emblem 2016 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is brimming with the flavors of fresh, crisp fruit. Little green apples, Bosch pears and hints of lemongrass and the subtle taste of vanilla, gives this wine a mellow feeling in the mouth. Careful aging in French oak for 9 to 10 months enhances the delicious flavor. The pairing possibilities at the holiday table are endless. Turkey, duck, pheasant and honey roasted ham are just a few of the main dishes that come to mind. Apple pie, Candied Sweet Potatoes, and Cinnamon-dusted pureed broccoli are among the side dishes and desserts that make this wine a standout. Celebrate the holidays like a bona fide Mondavi with Emblem wines!