Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Evening With The Mondavi Family

Mr. A's "Boy's Night Out" wine group was invited for dinner at Tim Mondavi's home in Napa Valley a few weeks ago. Luckily the wives were included! I had no idea what to expect as I really know very little about wine, so I was very happy to be a part of it all.
It was a fabulous evening and one I'll always remember to say the least!

The Tour:

We begain the evening with a tour of Continuum Estate, led by Carissa Mondavi, Tim's daughter.

Since leaving Robert Mondavi Winery, Robert's son Tim and daughter Marcia, along with their children formed Continuum. It is a culmination of their family's four generations of growing wine and Tim's four decades as a winemaker.

Located high atop Pritchard Hill, the winery commands glorious views of Lake Hennessey and as far away as San Francisco on a clear day!

After touring the winery, we went to Tim Mondavi's home for a very special Robert Mondavi and Continuum wine tasting and alfresco dinner under the stars.

The Tablescape:

The table was set under an arbor along side the pool.
A lovely matelasse tablecloth covered the entire table to the floor.

The center of the table was exquisite with bouquets of sunflowers, dahlias and roses from the garden.

The late evening sun was casting beautiful light on the table, making all those glasses glisten.

In fact, I've never seen so many wine glasses on one table!

How magical is this setting with the infinity pool, view of the trees and hills beyond!

The Wine:

This represents a flight of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Reserve, beginning with 1971, with various reserves in between ending in 1999. The Opus One was Robert Mondavi's joint venture with The Baron Phillipe de Rothschild. The three bottles in front are from Continuum Estate.

The first of the bottles in the vertical tasting were decanted....

and discussed.....

What a rare treat for us all. Especially for Robert's son, daughter and grandchildren to be able to taste their father's wine made so long ago.

The Dinner:

Our menu.

We were pinching ourselves at this point! It doesn't get any better than this!
(Tim Mondavi is standing and his sister Marcia Mondavi Borger with her back to the camera.)

The first course was fresh ricotta gnocchi with Hopper Shrimp, heirloom tomatoes and basil. Absolutely delicious!

The main course of grilled Niman Ranch beef tenderloin with maiitake mushrooms.
The side dishes were summer bean and corn succotash and roasted new potatoes.

Kevin on the left, who brought most of the Robert Mondavi Reserve wines, and Tim Mondavi who also pulled wines from his cellar.

We were each given a small pour to sample. Then, we discussed, compared and made notes.
It seemed a shame to pour out the remainder of the wine, but this was a vertical tasting and there were a lot of wines to taste!

Eric Symons accompanied us with his virtuoso spanish guitar during dinner.
What a treat!

That's our BNO member Alex from Vineyard Gate Wine Sellars (looking at the camera). He and Carissa Mondavi (at the end) arranged the evening.

After a trio of artisanal cheeses, a dessert of huckleberry ice cream completed the meal.

Chef Sarah Scott came out for a bow! The dinner was flawless!
She was the executive chef for Robert Mondavi Winery for 14 years and is coming out with a cookbook in October. It's called "The Wild Table" featuring recipes for wild game and foraged food.

I've included some thoughts about the evening from a few BNO members:

Kevin commented: "There are nice events, and there are special events, and this was very special. You know a special event when the buzz from the excitement is still going strong days later."

Matt wrote: "I’ve been giving our dinner on Thursday night a lot of thought and have been struggling to describe it to people.... there were a number of firsts for me; first time on Pritchard Hill with that amazing landscape, surrounded by many of the best vineyards and wineries in America, first time to witness the birth of what will no doubt be one of the most talked about wineries and vineyards in America, Continuum, and first time meeting Tim Mondavi, a legend in the winemaking business. He is one of the most passionate, humble, energetic, intelligent and fun loving people I have ever encountered."

Alex later wrote to Carissa: "Last night's experience is hard to put into words, but it was everything that everyone in our group could only dream about until last night. Our compliments to you for the magnificent arrangement: from Eric Symon's rapturous guitar-playing the glittering table setting, and to Sarah Scott's mouth-watering cuisine. Even Mother Nature cooperated and blessed us with the mildest night in recent memory. To put simply, we were all blown away."

"On behalf of everyone in our group, thank you, your father, your aunt and your family and staff for a most memorable celebration last night. What a dazzling tribute to the singular wines that your family has made over the decades and to the celebration of life that your grandfather (who was certainly present in spirit) stood for and the Mondavi family have cherished."

Be sure to check out Continuum Estate's website here.

Also, check out Alex's online wine store here, and his blog here.

For information on ordering Sarah Scott's cookbook, click here.

I'm linking up to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday, then on Friday, I'll be joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday!

Thanks Ladies for hosting.

On Friday, I'm linking up with Artie at Color Between the Lines for Vignette Friday!


Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More