Gold color; pineapple, melon on rich nose; melon, crisp apple, vanilla, hazelnut on the palate.
Classic Carneros chard with clear-but-not-excessive oak and butter; smooth; medium-full in the mouth; adequate acidity, more of solo sipper-cocktail chardonnay than food-friendly, although it will work with food that pairs with heavier whites. Richness and fullness coats the tongue; there is a touch of fruity sweetness on the long finish.
Michael Mondavi Family Estate makes various levels of wine. Entry level is Isabel Mondavi Wines ($25-40), followed by Emblem ($35-$60 range). Animo takes it to the next level ($70+). The top-of-the-line efforts are labeled “M by Michael Mondavi” ($200+).
There are eight wines under the Emblem mark: Emblem Carneros Chardonnay (this wine); Emblem Oso Vineyard Sauvignon Musqué; Emblem Oso Vineyard Fumé Blanc; Emblem Oso Vineyard Petite Sirah; Emblem Oso Vineyard Petit Verdot; Emblem Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon; Emblem Oso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon; Emblem Oso Vineyard Passito.
The Mondavi family is royalty in Napa— the entire wine world, for that matter. Michael Mondavi and his wife, Isabel, and son Rob Jr. and daughter Dina own and operate the Michael Mondavi Family Estate. Following family tradition, they adhere to sustainable and organic standards because they believe the best grapes, and the best wines, come from healthy vineyards.
Winemaking duties are shared between Michael’s son, Rob Mondavi Jr., and Tony Coltrin. Together, “they aim to make wines with integrity, balance and a sense of place” according to the winery website.
Michael Mondavi Family Emblem Chardonnay Carneros 2015 is a big chard. Flavors evolve with air and slight warming to present intriguing layers. Don’t treat this as a pop-and-pour chard.
BTW, the Mondavis sold their Carneros property and tasting room (they still own the Animo and Oso vineyards). They say favorite brands will not be affected, but it will be interesting to see and taste what pours next. $35
Other photos: Mondavi Family Estate luncheon; Mondavi Family Estate winery; Michael, Dina, Rob, Isabel Mondavi.