“This Reserve embodies Robert Mondavi’s philosophy of making wines that are powerful yet gentle. Each year the blend reflects the ‘First Growth’ quality of To Kalon Vineyard. It is a classic wine which represents the history of innovation and style at Robert Mondavi Winery.” - Geneviève Janssens, Director of Winemaking
The 2017 growing season began with significant rain, ending a five-year drought. Summer featured several heat spikes, leading to an early harvest. While the heat waves were a concern, retained water in the quenched soils helped us maintain vigorous vines and plump, juicy clusters of fruit through the season. Despite a series of wildfires at the beginning of October, the early harvest ensured the majority of our grapes were picked and in the cellar before the fires began. This is the seventh vintage of our To Kalon Vineyard-designated Reserve and it is made only from the vineyard’s finest blocks. When Robert Mondavi chose To Kalon Vineyard in west Oakville as the home for his new winery in 1966, he remarked that it was “a vineyard with a distinguished history and a magical nature. Ideal soils, sunlight, and rain – to my eye, the vineyard was a treasure.” Those sentiments were reconfirmed when To Kalon Vineyard was named Vineyard of the Year by the California State Farm Bureau in 2011.
The grapes were hand-harvested with three stages of strict sorting: first, on the vine, then by individual clusters, and then again by single berry following destemming. The selected grapes went directly into traditional French oak tanks for cold soak, fermentation, and extended maceration – a total of 31 days of wine-to-skin contact – maximizing the extraction of varietal character and complexity while keeping the tannins round and supple. The new wine was drained and gently pressed into 100% new French-oak barrels for malolactic fermentation, assuring seamless integration of fruit and oak. The final blend was assembled through repeated tasting trials over 20 months of barrel aging. The wine was bottled on August 13, 2019.
As ever, this wine expresses the singular elegance and powerful character of To Kalon Vineyard. Sage, black currant, and vanilla bean aromas waft from the glass. The wine coats the mouth with fine tannins and sings with lively acidity, exuding flavors of ripe black cherry, fragrant dried herbs, plum compote, cinnamon, clove, and a dusting of cocoa powder.