There’s a reason why the name Mondavi is so famous. Opening a bottle of Mondavi, even this basic Napa Chardonnay ($19), is always a treat. The wine gives off an immediate hit of rich, buttery pear. It is bursting with flavor, and has a noticeable acidity that balances its richness. The long finish is redolent of oak. This is a wine to be enjoyed with food. It can stand up to whatever you have on your plate, but anything with a cream sauce would be a great match, as would something cheesy.
Mondavi has a range of three Chardonnays: this one, an unoaked version ($34), and a special “Reserve Carneros” bottle ($55). But I found myself quite satisfied to sip the delightful Napa 2012. It’s a California classic.
The Director of Winemaking at Mondavi, I am delighted to note, is a woman, Genevieve Janssons. You can read her distinguished biography here.
What I would really like to taste now is the Fumé Blanc from Mondavi’s first growth vineyard, To Kalon. At $50, it is a luxury, but an affordable one. To Kalon is Greek for “The Beautiful,” and I have no doubt that this wine lives up to the name.