Robert Mondavi, 1913-2008

Hard to know what to say about this, but Robert Mondavi died this morning, age 94. It's essentially impossible to sum up in a short space his contributions to California wine; safe to say he was one of the instrumental forces in bringing Napa Valley to the world stage in terms of its visibility and the quality of its wines; that his own wines, particularly his Reserve Cabernet, have been benchmarks of California Cabernet Sauvignon; and that he created one of the world's iconic wine brands. I still have a bottle of '91 Mondavi Reserve lurking around in my cellar somewhere—seems that this weekend would be the appropriate time to open it and raise a toast to him. If you have any Mondavi on your shelves, why not do the same? Legends don't come around that often.

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