|Robert Mondavi was a household name and news of his death around the world was met with sadness by all who knew him even remotely. That includes us here at SommelierIndia. Less than a week ago we posted a note describing his new wine Continuum (see the blog for the piece). Looking back, however, there is much to celebrate. He was a legendary figure who helped put Napa Valley on the world wine map and raised the bar for California wines.|
Robert Mondavi’s list of notable wines that you would be familiar with by name even if you haven’t actually tasted them include Opus One which is a partnership with French vintner Baron Philippe de Rothschild. 1979 was its first vintage.
In 1995 he also set up Luce della Vite in Tuscany with the Frescobaldi family, and in 2002, the Robert Mondavi Corporation bought Tenuta dell’Ornellaia from Ludovico Antinori only to sell 50% to Frescobaldi. In 2004 (the year before Sommelier India started reporting on wine) intense competition and a wine glut forced the sale of the Mondavi business to Constellation Brands of Fairport, New York for $ 1.3 billion.
Robert Mondavi was a great proponent of the health, cultural and social benefits of wine and travelled the world well into his nineties promoting the wine lifestyle. He founded Copia, The American Center for Wine, Food and the Arts, in Napa and gave away millions in charitable donations including $35 million to the University of California.
For more information, read the Wine Spectator coverage.