Michael Mondavi is, of course, Robert Mondavi’s eldest son, and as such was instrumental in the founding of the Robert Mondavi winery, serving as the winemaker for the first 8 vintages. Like his father before him, Michael recently found himself at a crossroads in his life. This crossroads had an easy, if unsatisfactory, option, as well as one more challenging, yet less certain. Given the family history, it’s no surprise which path he chose.
The Terroir of Howell MountainWines from Howell Mtn. can be lean and earthy, if judged against most from Napa Valley. The soils here are very poor, and the vines really have to fight for their lives. The stresses the vines face, and the well-drained soils yield small, intense grapes that translate into these distinctive wines, massively structured and speaking of the dirt from which they’ve come. This should not be mistaken for a lack of fruit, however. These wines are well-endowed with perfectly ripe fruit, and perfect balance -- they just lack the jammy edge many wines from Napa exhibit, having replaced it with compelling layers of mineral and savory flavors.
The portfolio of wines represented by Folio is impressive, but that's not the point here. I bring it up simply to help illustrate the ethos that is one of the fundamental elements of both Folio and the wines they produce. Each of the wineries Folio represents is family owned and operated. The guiding principle of each, the Mondavi enterprises included, is to make the best wines each family feels possible.
Whether the effect of this is universal (and of that I am not sure, but based on my tasting of wines represented by Folio it is more than likely), I have to say that after tasting three wines with Michael I am impressed not only by the wines, but by the fact that they seem made for him, and not for me.
These wines are made to satisfy, first and foremost, the boss and his family. If it seems strange that I am mentioning this you’ll have to consider that many, if not most, wines produced today seem to be made to win tastings and medals, as opposed to hearts and space on the dinner table.
Hear Michael talk about his wines, how they’re made, and what influenced and inspired him.