The consequences of the 2010 vintage's cold summer and late rains in northern California have been lamented here enough. As with any rule, there are exceptions. And while these two Burgundian varieties from the Robert Mondavi Winery fall short of being blockbusters, they certainly reaffirm a long-held belief that this winery is too often overlooked because of its name. Consistency is admirable, not only across vintages, but also across bottlings. Genevieve Janssens, the affable and talented head of winemaking here, has brought a steady hand to the helm. And informed consumers, whether at the Reserve level or at the regular Napa Valley price point, have enjoyed reliable value thanks to her oversight.
(Full disclosure: these wines were received as press samples.)
2010 Robert Mondavi Winery Pinot Noir Napa Valley $27
A sleeveless cardigan of a Pinot for the change of seasons. Solid core, smokey notes over top a mid layer that vibrates at low frequency between high-strung aromatic and warm, mulled spice. Immanently drinkable and thought-provoking, though fundamentally sound. Surprisingly terrific given the vintage.
2010 Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay Napa Valley $20
Platinum blonde in the glass. Inviting, toasted oak nose, and a full body open the door to a wine that is somehow rich and at once restrained. The fruit takes a back seat to the vanilla streak running top to bottom. Well done, considering the vintage's challenges.