Robert Mondavi Winery
2008 'Solaire' Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
California: Santa Lucia Highlands
What we say
LIMITED AVAILABILITY/QUICK SHIPPING ALERT:
We got our hands on every last case that the winery had – and it will sell out, soon. If you manage to get in on today’s offer, it will ship to you, today. Just act quickly! Once this wine sells out, it will be gone forever.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s selection from Robert Mondavi Winery and winemaker Rick Boyer is an exceptional, accessible, limited-availability Pinot Noir. Be sure to get in early, as our allocation is extremely limited.
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Mission Codename: The God of the Sun
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Robert Mondai Winery and secure a wine that is only available at the winery. Make an allocation available to our well-deserving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Solaire, by Robert Mondavi Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 Solaire Pinot Noir – Santa Lucia Highlands
Winemaker: Rick Boyer
in 1966, Robert Mondavi was a man with a mission. Mondavi had the vision to create the first major post-prohibition winery in the United Stated. His dream of crafting the best wines in the world has been realized and today the winery is recognized as a global leader in fine wine. Mondavi’s exclusive wines, which are usually only available at the winery itself, are extraordinary. Today only, The Wine Spies are proud to be the only wine merchant in the world to bring you, our national audience of Wine Spies Operatives, this rare opportunity to taste this extraordinary wine.
Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands boasts 5,900 acres of wine grapes and a near-perfect environment for cooler climate Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, which makes up more than half of the grapes grown in this region. The reason for this massive proportion? Santa Lucia Highlands grows some of the best in the country! Spanish missionaries first planted grapes here 200 years ago but the 1970s saw a major revival in the region’s viticulture. And in 1991, the region officially became an AVA.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – A dark cherry juice shows slightly lighter at the edges, and slightly darker through the translucent core. Swirl the wine and witness tall, tightly-spaced legs that fall slowly down the glass.
Smell – Bold, dark cherry and red currant mix with soft spice, kola nut, bramble and soft sweetwood. Allow the wine to breathe and be rewarded with softer, follow-on aromas of wild blackberry, mission fig and a hint of subtle savory herbs.
Feel – Cool and soft as the wine passes the front palate. Across the mid-palate, it settles in, gaining dimension and weight as soft, integrated tannins add a softly spreading grippiness and light dryness. A balanced acidity provides the perfect support for the delicious red fruit.
Taste – Juicy red cherry, smoky red currant, strawberry and spiced raspberry candy lead the way. As the wine opens up (keep swirling and you’ll be rewarded), it reveals mineral-laden brown spice, black pepper, bramble bush, wild blackberry, cherry cola and a hint of gunpowder.
Finish – Very long and flavorful, leading with a burst of red fruit that gently gives way to earthy minerals, spice and black pepper. At the very end, a warmth spreads around the palate, eventually ending on the gums.
Conclusion – This little gem from Mondavi is a delicious, easy-drinking, fruit-forward wine that we can’t get enough of. Unfortunately, there is very little left. If you love juicy, red, delicious Pinot Noir, this one is certain to please. Red and bursting with fruit, this palate-pleasing wine is a great all-on-its own solo-sipper, but with a bright and balanced acidity, it is a worthy companion for your springtime fine dining.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of Robert Mondavi Winery in Napa Valley can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
Our Solaire by Robert Mondavi 2008 Pinot Noir shows off deep, complex favors of black cherry and red raspberries, with hints of rose petal, violet, and red licorice. A background of smoky cinnamon, vanilla, and five-spice nuances comes from aging in toasted oak barrels. This wine has nice weight on the palate, with a lush texture and smooth, silky tannins that support the favors through the lingering finish.
Growing Region: The 2008 Solaire by Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir comes from three cool-climate Monterey County vineyards in California’s Central Coast appellation. The diversity of Pinot Noir clones, vine age, soils, and mesoclimates within these vineyards contribute to this wine’s layers of fruit expression, supple structure, rich texture, and balance. 90% of the grapes for this Pinot Noir were harvested from the southeast-facing terraces of our Bianchi Bench Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands. The Santa Lucia Highlands are positioned on an East-facing slope, very similar to the growing conditions in Burgundy, France which is why Burgundian varietals such as Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grow very well there. The vineyard is positioned on fertile alluvial soils with elevations ranging from 100 to 1,200 feet above sea level. Bianchi Bench fruit lends this Pinot Noir its aromatic berry fruit and floral character. To enhance its lush texture and structure, we added 5% from an Arroyo Seco vineyard and 5% from our Gabilan Vineyard. In all three sites, vines receive full morning sunshine, followed by the cooling effect of maritime winds from the Monterey Bay—perfect conditions for developing vibrant Pinot Noir favors.
Vintage: “It was a wild climatic year—every weather variable that a plant could experience occurred in the 2008 growing season,” said Winemaker Rick Boyer. “The vines didn’t know if they should grow or hunker down and wait for better weather.” This vintage endured drought, spring frosts, untimely rain during bloom, wildfires, hot winds, and early fall cold snaps. Amazingly, the vines yielded fully ripened fruit with great color, delicious favors, and balanced acidity. The Pinot Noir harvest began on September 24 and ended mid-October.
Winemaking: The fruit from each vineyard was fermented and aged separately to develop its unique personality. After destemming, the lightly crushed grapes were cold soaked for several days before fermentation for gentle favor extraction. To increase the wine’s soft texture and complexity, we stirred the lees during barrel aging. Our winemaker matched the vineyard expression of each wine to complementary French oak barrels made by a selection of top coopers. Then, following nine months of aging, he artistically blended the components to create our 2008 Pinot Noir.
About The Winery:
In 1966, emboldened by boundless enthusiasm, and a conviction that California could produce wines that would belong in the company of the world’s finest, Robert Mondavi set out on his own to found the first major winery built in the valley since prohibition: Robert Mondavi Winery. Since then the open arch of the Robert Mondavi Winery has welcomed thousands of guests who have come to share in Robert’s love of wine, food, and art.
With the release of the Robert Mondavi Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon in the late 60’s the world’s eyes were opened to the potential of the Napa Valley. The historic Paris tasting in 1976, where two former winemakers of the Robert Mondavi Winery won first prize, further supported this revelation.
Robert Mondavi’s commitment to the industry and to promoting wine as part of a gracious lifestyle led to his “mission tour” in the late 1980s. He crossed the country, educating restaurateurs, media and most of all consumers on wine’s integral role in culture and civilization.
After 41 years, Robert Mondavi Winery still embodies its founder’s commitment to excellence, innovation and creative spirit while continuing to produce wines that stand in the company of the world’s finest.
About The Winemaker:
Rick Boyer, Winemaker, Solaire by Robert Mondavi
Rick grew up in Southern California, where his early passions included fishing, bodysurfing and football.
In 1979, Rick graduated from UC Davis with a degree in plant science and was employed by E.&J. Gallo Winery producing the base white wines and acting as the Grower Relations representative for the Central Valley region.
After four years with Gallo, Rick moved to the Monterey/Salinas area with Ventana Vineyards. During this time, he realized the untapped viticultural potential of Monterey County.
In 1985, he founded his own company, Richard Boyer Wines, specializing in small-lot, super-premium Monterey County wines. Staying in Monterey, Rick joined the team at Jekel Vineyards in 1994, where he led the charge to develop Monterey County within the Jekel portfolio. Simultaneously, he attended the Stanford Graduate School of Business where he earned an Executive Degree in 1997.
In 2005, Rick moved to Constellation Wines U.S. as the Director of Winemaking for the Monterey County facility located in Gonzales. Rick’s 20 plus years of winemaking experience, mostly in the Salinas Valley/Monterey County region, made him the ideal candidate to take the winemaking reins at Robert Mondavi Private Selection and Solaire in 2007.
Rick thoroughly enjoys viticultural and wine education, with published works in several industry periodicals. Outside of wine his hobbies include kayaking, fly-fishing and Bonsai culture.
Varietal: 100% Pinot Noir
Appellation: Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, Monterey county
Vineyard Sourcing: 90% Bianchi Bench, 5% Library, and 5% Gabilan Vineyards