FOOD HOLIDAY: Robert Mondavi’s Birthday
Today’s the day to pick up a bottle or two of Robert Mondavi wine.
It’s Mondavi’s 100th birthday (June 18, 1913 – May 16, 2008). The American wine pioneer and innovator made technical improvements and developed marketing strategies that brought worldwide recognition for the wines of California’s Napa Valley. Until then, California wines “got no respect”: American wine buyers were French-wine-focused.
A bottle of Robert Mondavi Winery’s 2011 Fume Blanc is a beautiful warm weather wine and a great choice for a birthday celebration. It’s an exceptionally well-balanced, fruit-forward varietal (Sauvignon Blanc) that is enjoyable on its own or as a food wine, with fish, shellfish and lighter dishes. Fume Blanc, a name Mondavi trademarked, is made in the style of French Sauvignon Blanc (Sancerre wines), with citrusy fruit and herbal flavors, minerality and racy acidity. It’s one of our favorite wines.
One of Mondavi’s innovations was to promote the labeling of wines by their varietal names, i.e., Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc/Fume Blanc. The European tradition is to name the wine based on its village, region or other geography (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Port, etc.).
Robert Mondavi’s acclaimed Fume Blanc. Photo courtesy Robert Mondavi Winery.
How It All Began
Mondavi‘s father had a business in California that shipped grapes to the East Coast for home winemaking. The family then acquired the Charles Krug Winery in Napa, and after graduating from Stanford, Mondavi joined his father and brother Peter in the business.
You can read the story—a saga worthy of a motion picture or mini series—in The House Of Mondavi: The Rise and Fall of an American Wine Dynasty.
Today, the Robert Mondavi Winery produces a large variety of wines in multiple lines, ranging from connoisseur wines to everyday wines: Reserve Wines, District Wines, Napa Valley Wines and Winery Exclusive Wines, the latter of which can only be purchased at the winery.
Learn more at RobertMondaviWinery.com. And plan a trip to visit the lovely winery. It’s an easy drive from San Francisco.