USA, Pinot Noir, Robert Mondavi, Carneros, Napa Valley, California, 2010

N/ I actually decanted this Pinot, which is uncommon for me to do. The reason I did that is, upon opening, I detected wafts of rubber, possibly indicating too much of a reduced state (that can come from one or more grape and/or wine-crafting issues). After an hour this mostly burned off, but lingered enough to detract. She shows standard characteristics of cherry and blackberry of typical California Pinot Noir, with even some black tea notes which I oftentimes associate more with Oregon Pinot Noir. While I can’t quite call this alcohol hot on the nose, there is a bit of an invasive acid experience upon serious sniffer action.

T/ Medium mouthfeel. While she shows clean, angular cherry and blackberry flavors, they seem to be in competition with somewhat odd blueberry and puckering cranberry flavors. One’s mouth is left a bit puckered, lighted chalked and blueberry pie-ish. What seems odd about this wine, is that I would normally commend the acid balance with the fruit, but in this case, the cranberry pucker disrupts the normal semblance of Pinot Noir. It seems like many things went right on this wine, but the ones that went wrong unfortunately overshadowed the nice wine-crafting here.

For $27 I’d expect a little more from this legendary producer.

Winemaker = Genevieve Janssens

Price = $27

N = C

T = B-

I = B-

Overall = C+ / B-

This wine was a media sample kindly provided by the winery.

Details from Mondavi…

“V I N E Y A R D S

The foggy, breezy slopes of the Carneros region in the southern end of Napa Valley present an ideal home for Pinot Noir – a notoriously challenging varietal. Situated by San Pablo Bay, the clay hills of the Carneros allow the delicate, thin-skinned Pinot Noir to reach optimum maturity slowly and evenly, while low yields ensure rich, concentrated flavors. A small amount of cool-climate Russian River Pinot Noir brings bright red fruit and elegance to the blend.

Grape Sourcing: 93% Carneros (Napa) 7% Russian River


The clusters were hand-harvested into small bins in the cool of the morning. At the winery, a portion of the grapes went through partial whole-cluster fermentation to add spiciness and tannic spine to the wine. The balance of the fruit was destemmed and lightly crushed. The wine received an average of 17 days of maceration (skin contact) to soften the tannins and develop flavors prior to aging 7 months in French oak (34% new). The wine was bottled in May of 2011.”

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