Private and Premium Selections: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Chardonnay
The Robert Mondavi Winery was established in 1966 with the vision to create Napa Valley wines that would stand with the world’s best. The wines today that we will be looking at from Robert Mondavi fall into either the private selection or the premium range. The private selection range is lighter on the pocket however does not lack quality and offer quite a unique wine experience. Robert Mondavi consistently push the boundaries of winemaking (such as maturing wine in old bourbon and rum barrels!).
- Private selection: Chardonnays – Bourbon Barrels & Buttery, Cabernet Sauvignon – Bourbon Barrels & Traditional and Merlot – Rum Barrels.
- Premium range: Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
Napa Valley (From the 1830s to the 1976 Judgement of Paris)
Wine has been produced in the fertile lands of the Napa Valley since the 1830s (*1). However, it was not until 1976 that the region made centre-stage. In the ‘1976 Judgement of Paris’ blind tasting, it was a Napa Valley Chardonnay that took the top spot, over-taking nine of the most esteemed French vineyards(*2). It became a classic story of the under-dog finally being recognised (and celebrated!).
What to Expect From Napa Valley Wines
For a region to produce such diversity in both reds and whites, climate, geography, and soil types must be spot on. Napa Valley boasts an incredible 100+ soil types, ranges in the appellation and brilliant, sunny wine-growing conditions with coastal breezes(*1). Fruit quality shines with ripe red grape vines providing hints of cherries, blackcurrants, juicy plums, and liquorice(*3). Every wine type exhibits unique flavours and vintners showcase the fertile growing conditions in prestige, well-balanced wines. There is something for everyone in the Napa Valley. Dry? Crisp? Mouth-watering? Sweet? Buttery? Depth of flavour? They are all here.
What Not to Expect From Mondavi Wines
Do not expect to try a wine you have never tasted before. Robert Mondavi wines push the envelope while maintaining traditional and proven wine-making techniques. They have cemented their position as the fifth-best winery in the world and hold the top spot as the best winery in North America(*4).
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Tasting Notes (Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot)
The Robert Mondavi winery explores what wine can be and not just what it should be(*5).
2018 Bourbon Barrels Chardonnay Private Selection
The 2018 Bourbon Barrels Chardonnay is aged for two months in old bourbon barrels. The aroma, flavours and lingering finish are heavenly. Expect pineapple, custard, coconut, toffee, oak (to name a few) and a hint of Bourbon on the back palate(*6).
2019 Buttery Chardonnay Private Selection
This is a big, rich, old school buttery Chardonnay(*5)! The buttery taste comes from the process of malolactic fermentation(*7). Buttery wines have a creamy, soft texture with very low acidity. Mondavi’s 2019 Buttery Chardonnay has good complexity, body and intensity of flavour. There is a flawless balance between lush apples and smooth crème Brulee. The wine rounds off beautifully with notes of toasty oak coming through from the ageing in French Oak barrels(*8).
2018 Bourbon Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon Private Selection
This unique style of Cabernet Sauvignon is distinctive, layered and richly textured. The faint touch of bourbon on the end comes from being aged in new and old Bourbon barrels from Kentucky(*9).
This red is different – but in a good way. Ripe and juicy grapes from coastal vineyards give the wine a brilliant foundation. Expect aromas and flavours of blackberries, blueberry pie, chocolate, and sweet vanilla. The oak comes through with hints of coffee, smoke, and caramel(*9). Need we say more?
2018 Rum Barrels Merlot Private Selection
Portions of this wine are aged in old rum barrels which come through as a smooth white rum note in the aftertaste. The 2018 rum aged Merlot exhibits bold plum, molasses, maple and blueberry in complex, bold layers which further develop with toasted coconut and vanilla. Drink right now or cellar for an even more exciting sensory experience.
2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Selection
If you are looking to try Mondavi’s Cabernet without bourbon or rum barrel ageing, they’re 2018 bottle is worth a try. It is decadent, big on flavour, juicy and low on tannins. The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is predominantly Cabernet with a little bit of Syrah, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Carignan and Petit Syrah to add extra complexity. It is high on dark fruit aromas which carry through to the palate. This is very easy to drink so we recommend buying one for today and one for the cellar.
Robert Mondavi’s Private Selection blazes the trail with exceptional flavours and is perfect for everyday enjoyment. Get any of these bottles for the price of a takeaway dinner!
Robert Mondavi Premium Range Tasting Notes (Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay)
Surprisingly, the Private Selection is the budget range from Robert Mondavi wines. But fun and enjoyment do not stop there. Robert Mondavi’s premium range offers world-class examples of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay at a slightly higher price point (up to around $50 each). The following wines come from the Napa Valley appellation.
Oakville, Napa Valley Appellation
This Oakville vineyard has earnt such a reputation for producing exceptional wines that it has reached the status of a first-growth vineyard(*11). This classification is normally only attributed to Bordeaux vineyards albeit if Napa produces equally exceptional offerings.
2014 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon – Napa Valley
Now, what to expect with the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon? A balanced blend of Robert Mondavis prized grapes with flavours of plums, blackberries, hints of herbs, earthiness and sweet tobacco. A complex and long finish typical from this award-winning winery tops off this amazing wine experience(*11).
Blend: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Malbec, 0.5% Syrah(*11).
2017 Robert Mondavi Chardonnay – Napa Valley
A classic Chardonnay made with slowly ripened grapes kept cool by coastal breezes and early morning fog(*13). Sweet fruits give this Chardonnay a smooth mouthfeel and good body. Expect vibrant notes from peaches to guava, roasted pineapple and roasted pear. The wine is well balanced, flavour-packed and offers a stunningly long finish.
Where Can I Order Robert Mondavi and Napa Valley Wine in Australia?
No matter where you are in Australia, Robert Mondavi and other American wines can be delivered to your door. No need to book a flight anywhere!We would love to hear what you think of Robert Mondavi wines. Feel free to share your tasting notes, thoughts and meal pairings on our Facebook page or Instagram.
References *1. Laskey, J. Napa Valley. SevenFifty Daily. 2021. *2. Visit California. Napa Valley Wines and Wineries. 2021. *3. Napa Valley Vintners. Understanding Napa Cabernet. 2021. *4. Robert Mondavi Winery. Robert Mondavi Winery. 2021. *5. Summer Hill Wine Shop. Robert Mondavi Wines, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, currently sold at Summer Hill Wines. YouTube video. 2021. *6. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2018 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrels Chardonnay California. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2021. *7. Wine Folly. What is Malolactic Fermentation? The Buttery Taste in Wine. 2020. *8. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2019 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Buttery Chardonnay California. 2021. *9. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2018 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Bourbon Barrels Cabernet Sauvignon California. 2021. *10. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2018 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Rum Barrels Merlot California. 2021. *11. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2014 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. 2021. *12. Marquardt, T. The first growths of Napa Valley. More About Wine. 2020. *13. Summer Hill Wine Shop. 2017 Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay Napa Valley