Michael Mondavi Family Estate is located at the old Mahoney Winery in the heart of Napa's southern Carneros region. What separates this from other wineries is the huge selection of wines that are always available for tasting at the tasting counter. As of our tasting, Michael Mondavi is producing the following five labels, Hangtime, I'M, Medusa, Oberon and Spellbound. They were also pouring labels they have no ownership in, but whose wines are made on site: Hunterdon, Mayro-Murdick, Renteria and Trinitas. The owner of Trinitas actually owns the Meritage Resort in Napa and you can also taste this label there. The winery is owned by Michael Mondavi who is the eldest son of the famed Robert Mondavi. Michael's son Rob Mondavi is also very involved and is the President.
Michael Mondavi owns many vineyards and almost all of the wine is made from California grown grapes. The vineyards that surround the tasting room are Pinot Noir and are the source for their Carneros Estate Pinot Noir (Gallery Vineyard), found under the Hangtime label. The prices for their wines are extremely reasonable by Napa standards with most bottles priced between $15 and $35. The winery is located about 2 miles from busy Highway 12/121 and being caught in traffic is the ideal excuse to take a break and visit this winery! The tasting room is spacious and is located behind the main winery production facility. This property is literally surrounded by rolling hills planted with vineyards. It is the quintessential Carneros property.
Choose from one of two tastings, or both if you are an ambitious wine taster! The Gallery Tasting includes your choice of 6 wines from any of the labels that Mondavi produces as well a few of the non owned labels. The Artisan Tasting includes only single vineyard and reserve wines; again pick 6. They have one of the better selection of lighter wines that we have seen at any Napa winery. These include Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Blanc (we tried their 2006 vintage - lots of pear and melon flavors in this one), Chardonnay, Rose and several Pinot Noirs. We tried a Trinitas Cuvee (also a lighter style wine); this an amazing Old World blend of varietals you will never find at Napa wineries including Matara, Carignane, Alicante Bouschet, and Black Malvoise. We loved their 2004 Medusa Creekside Vineyard Zinfandel. They actually pour their Zinfandels last as these are among their "biggest" wines. We finished up with an elegant Non Vintage Medusa Zinfandel Port. It is a lighter style Zinfandel Port that strikes a good balance between sweetness and fruit. Michael Mondavi also imports boutique wines from around the world.
Also note that Michael Mondavi has an olive oil bar with samples produced by a local olive oil expert. The first Friday of the month features works of art by mostly local artists - the artist is always on site.
Three websites you should be familiar with are www.foliowine.com (parent website), www.michaelmondavifamilyestate.com (winery tasting website), and www.noblemerchants.com (online merchant - selling their wines exclusively). Click on the winery photos link above for pictures of both the winery in Carneros and their old Enoteca in Oxbow in Napa.