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Cookout Classics

Wine Blog

Tom Markakis
June 20, 2022 | Tom Markakis

Cookout Classics

The Michael Mondavi Family Wines are welcome additions to almost any meal. However, as cookout season approaches, I thought about the which wines would be both crowd friendly, and sophisticated enough to please a variety of palates. Two wines quickly came to mind – Emblem Chardonnay and M by Michael Mondavi.

The 2019 Emblem Rodgers Creek Chardonnay has fresh aromas of honeysuckle, peach, and vanilla. On the palate it is rich with hints of apricot, honeydew, and lemon curd with lightly toasted oak and minerality to balance the finish. It doesn’t undergo malolactic fermentation, so it’s certain to surprise the “Anything But Chardonnay” crowd. This wine is a perfect match for summertime favorites like Caprese salad made with fresh garden tomatoes, basil and burrata. Or try it with grilled shrimp and skewered vegetables.

The 2016 M by Michael Mondavi was the first vintage that was comprised of less than 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, which is the percentage needed to label a wine by its varietal. When winemaker Rob Mondavi Jr and Assistant Winemaker, Sabrina Massola, created the blend, they were inspired by a some of their favorites like Opus One, Dominus and Continuum, which all have significant amounts of Cabernet Franc in the mix. When they presented it to Michael, he loved it, but was surprised by the amount of Cabernet Sauvignon. The question became are we trying to create the best Cabernet Sauvignon or best wine?

The answer: the 2016 M. It is an outstanding wine that continues to reveal itself overtime. Aromas of black cherry, dates, and toasted vanilla bean rise from the glass. On the palate, it is silky and firm with an evolution of flavors like candied figs, brambleberry, and cocoa-covered strawberries. This wine pairs perfectly with grilled steaks and burgers, pulled pork and smoked duck. And be sure to save a glass for your homemade S’mores at the end of the night!



Tom Markakis - Hospitality Manager & Estate Sommelier

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