By Michael Hepworth
Naples, CA(Spiritsman)5/5/12/–Spiritsman had the opportunity to meet up with wine maker Peter Mondavi Jr at aprivate wine dinner held at Kelly’s Steak House in Long Beach, California. Kelly’s is a neighborhood steak house restaurant that is nicely old fashioned with booths and waiters who have been there for a substantial amount of time.
The history of the Mondavi family winery has been well documented by wine historians, and today the Charles Krug line is well established as a purveyor of handcrafted red-bordeaux varietals along with select high quality white wines.
Peter Mondavi is still going strong at 97, and understandably has turned over most of the day to day operations to his two sons including the Stanford educated Peter Jr.
Today the company is known for their own Sauvignon Blanc, specially harvested at night to recreate the feel of Marlborough country in New Zealand, along with some pretty high quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and the excellent Generations. With a combined acreage of 850 acres the winery is well placed for the next 150 years having been in the family since 1943.
The Sauvignon Blanc ($18) is a perfect complement to appetizers and has an overall freshness of grapefruit, lime and passion fruit. If you only drink New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc, you will be pleasantly surprised by the quality of the Charles Krug version.
The Krug Chardonnay ($20) tastes like a blend of tropical fruit, citrus blossom and pineapple, and the Pinot Noir ($25) contains 95% Pinot Noir grape. This rich red wine has a strong flavor of pomegranate, candied cherry and dried cranberry.
The elegant Cabernet Sauvignon ($27) has 82% Cabernet Sauvignon grape content with hints of black cherry, raspberry and cocoa. We had this wine with lamb chops, although it could have gone just as easy with any steak dish.
Star of the show had to be the Generations ($45) that rounded out the meal. There were two other dinners that week that Peter hosted in Beverly Hills, with proceeds going To his favorite charity, the Make-A-Wish foundation, a charity that Peter Jr is particularly passionate about.
Visitors to the Krug Estates will soon be able to see the brand new visitor center and a new museum to reflect the storied history of the Charles Krug winery. Amongst many cool things they will get the chance to see the original basket press used to make the first batch of wines. The museum will be located in the Redwood Cellar (1872), and visitors will also see the oldest Charles Krug bottle found recently via an internet search.
This turned out to be a 1946 Charles Krug Pinot Noir from Pope Valley, California, but sadly without the wine inside.
287 S.Robertson Blvd, Beverly Hills, CA 90211