There are few names more synonymous with Napa Valley than Robert Mondavi. The father of Napa Valley’s wine legacy, a trip to wine country is not complete without a stop at Robert Mondavi Winery.
Founded in 1966, Robert Mondavi Winery was founded with the vision to create Napa Valley wines that would stand up to the world’s finest wine regions. In the heart of Oakville, Robert Mondavi chose the To Kalon Vineyard for its rich soil and almost magical quality as the home for his winery. Today, the To Kalon Vineyard produces some of the most famous Napa Valley Cabernets and still produces the Sauvignon Blanc, which Mondavi’s signature wine, Fume Blanc, is crafted from. Often thought of as a “beginners winery”, Robert Mondavi has recently gone through a shift in focus and now offers high-end experiences that blend the history of Napa Valley with the future of wine tasting.
On a beautiful Tuesday in March, two of my friends and I made our way up to Robert Mondavi Winery for the Vineyard to Table Lunch. The Vineyard to Table lunch is a three-course lunch paired with the perfect wines. Greeted with a stunning view through the famous archway at the entrance of Robert Mondavi Winery, we knew we were in for a treat! The first wine of the day was the 2020 Rosé. The Rosé was crisp and light, the perfect stroll around wine. While sipping, our host regaled us with the history of the winery. We visited the famous barrel room and stopped by the tank room, which was bustling with activity. Currently, the vineyards are still hibernating, but we still took a few moments to talk through the famous To Kalon vineyards and enjoy just how beautiful Napa Valley is.
Next up, lunch! The Vineyard to Table Lunch takes place next to the Robert Mondavi Winery Garden and overlooks the vineyards. Our table was set with an impressive number of wine glasses and beautiful floral arrangements.
Our first course was a green apple salad served over mixed greens with pickled red onions, candied pecans, goat cheese, and the best citrus dressing I have ever had. I am a sucker for goat cheese and pickled red onions, so I ate it all very quickly! The salad was paired with the famous Mondavi 2018 Reserve Fume Blanc. The Fume Blanc has notes of zesty lemon and pink grapefruit, which paired amazingly with the citrus dressing. It is the type of wine you want to enjoy while looking out over pristine vineyards while enjoying a warm spring breeze.
Next up, was the best duck I have ever tasted. The duck confit fell off the bone with the slightest touch of your fork. It was served with purple cauliflower puree, confit shallots, garden kale, wild mushrooms, root vegetables, topped with a red wine chicken jus and salsa verde. Every bite was magical! One of my friends is a vegetarian and they created “the best falafel I have ever had” for her. Our main course was paired with two wines, the 2018 Pinot Noir Reserve from Carneros and the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve from To Kalon Vineyard. The Pinot Noir was deep in flavor with toasty and spicy notes of red plum and black cherry. They played nicely off the richness of the duck confit. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon was a special treat! The wine truly embodied Robert Mondavi’s philosophy of making wines that are powerful and gentle at the same time. The age on the wine made it soft but the dark flavors of the powerful To Kalon are still shown beautifully.
Last but not least it was time for dessert! For dessert we were served olive oil cake topped with whipped crème fraîche, surrounded by blood orange gel, orange segments, and candied orange zest. Paired with the olive oil cake was the 2019 Moscato d’Oro. I don’t normally gravitate towards sweet wines but this was the perfect way to end the meal.
The Robert Mondavi Winery Vineyard to Table lunch is the true expression of a perfect Napa Valley experience. The locally sourced ingredients paired with the spectacular wines is a lunch you won’t soon forget!
Robert Mondavi Winery
7801 St. Helena Highway, Oakville, CA 94562
Vineyard to Table Lunch
$165 a person
Offered daily at 12:30 p.m.