Robert Mondavi Wine Dinner at Angus Barn, Raleigh - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 03-22-2010

My first time at Angus Barn. We were in a wine cellar room but there were two events in two different cellar rooms and I was at someone's 25th wedding anniversary dinner before I realized that was the wrong event!

Michael Highsmith, representative of Constellation Wines (and who had represented Robert Mondavi wines when Robert still owned the company) was the host. We were greeted with a glass of the 2008 Fume Blanc and a cucumber crabmeat hors d'oeuvres. We viewed a short video about To Kalon and the winemaking process at Robert Mondavi wines.
Michael Highsmith said that the current winemaker, Genevieve Janssens, has pulled back a bit on the amount of Merlot in the Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and increased the amount of Cabernet Franc for an aromatic, feminine style. The reserve has always been at least 85% Cabernet Sauvignon from To Kalon Vineyard.

After seating us, they poured a 2006 CHARDONNAY. Pale and very transparent. Light vanillin note on nose and palate. Delicate fruits with buttered crumb underpinning. I don't have the menu with me but this was served with a crayfish and watercress bisque as I recall.

The 1991 and 1993 CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE wines were poured as a flight with the salad topped with duck, raspberries, and a raspberry vinaigrette. There were bits of sausage in the salad also I believe. I prefered the 1993 wine over the 1991, the lady to my right prefered the 1991 and didn't really "get" the '93, and the gentleman to my left (a restaurant owner)was torn but came down in favor of the 1993 as a better food companion. I liked the nose of the '93 better. It revealed darker fruits than the '91 (almost brooding) and I thought seemed better integrated. To me it was a more typical Bordeaux or Cabernet Sauvignon representative than the '91. The '91 had a rather pungent nose (IMO) and an aroma of muddled wild berries. It did pair better than the '93 with the raspberries on the salad. Tyler, to my left, thought it was something like a meaty Pomerol. The '93 was more like currants.

The 1992 and 1994 CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE wines were in a flight served with tenderloin beef and lobster tail. Tyler and I agreed that neither wine was really a good pairing with lobster. The '92 had a close resemblance to the '93. While I had liked both the '93 and the '92, I found the '94 to be my wine of the night. The '92 was quite viscous. The nose was perhaps more assertive than on the '93 but the flavors were similar. The '94 (a great vintage in California--rated 95 for the vintage by Robert Parker, slightly above the other three vintages.) was rich and fruity with more depth than the '92. Both were smooth and mellow, nicely integrated. The '94 had some transparency and some red cherries in contrast to the currants of the '92.

We were treated to two additional wines not on the pre-event flyer. The 2006 ROBERT MONDAVI CABERNET SAUVIGNON RESERVE (96 points from WS), the first tasting of this wine in North Carolina and a Moscato d'Oro dessert wine. The 2006 was generally well received by everyone and was the wine of the night for some (I prefered the 1994 for how it is drinking now.) The 2006 had an impressive nose suggesting black currant jam and coffee. It was not too tannic but should have the structure for some medium- to long-term aging. Mr. Highsmith thought that introducing it before the wines from the early '90's might make them seem weak in comparison, but I think that is only for those who are mainly into bold, big wines. I was able to enjoy the 90's wines and the 2006.

The MOSCATO D'ORO was a bit sweet and frizzante. It paired with apple brown Betty and cinnamon ice cream.

Great evening.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 03-22-2010).]

- winoweenie - 03-22-2010

Since 1966 one of the premier wineries in the valley. Have had and been blessed with many vintages from this fine house and also had the pleasure of being an acquantance (fairly close) of this icon. The dip after the property being sold was kinda' a bump in the road that has since been paved over. They still have some of the finest vineyards in Napa. Sounds like a really fun evening. WW