As the Hospitality Manager and Estate Sommelier for Michael Mondavi Family I have the enviable task of tasting through our collection of wines and curating menus with the culinary team at Brasswood Estate to pair with them. Recently I treated a small group of friends and colleagues to a sumptuous luncheon featuring two outstanding library wines from highly acclaimed vintages in the Napa Valley.
The first was the 2013 Animo Cabernet Sauvignon paired with crispy mozzarella stuffed arancini atop slow roasted duck Bolognese sauce. The wine showed a vibrant fruitiness, which contrasted the salty crunch of the arancini. The richness of the duck Bolognese was matched by hints of tobacco and the lengthy finish of the wine. Although this Cabernet has potential for further ageing, I recommend enjoying a bottle now – why wait?!
For the main course we indulged with the 2014 M by Michael Mondavi served alongside homemade herb infused pappardelle pasta and short rib sugo with slow cooked carrots, mushrooms and cipollini onions. This pairing seamlessly brought together the silky texture of the wine with the melt-in-your-mouth tenderness of the short rib. The fresh herbs in the pappardelle accentuated concentrated notes of plum and black cherry in the wine. The M was magnificent! It’s no surprise that James Suckling scored it 97 points. Although, I can’t help but wonder what the future holds for this wine which can easily mature for several more years.
We were unanimously captivated by these wines but split on which one we liked best. Some of us preferred the complex elegance of the 2014 M while the others thought that the 2013 Animo Cabernet with its lengthy finish stole the show. You'll have to get one of each and decide for yourself!
Tom Markakis - Hospitality Manager & Estate Sommelier