Speaking Volumes: Shedding light on Mondavi's new venture

December 11, 2013 

While most people know that Robert Mondavi was a pioneer in marketing Napa Valley, Calif., to the world, he also assisted in bringing many innovative winemaking techniques to the region. Now, in a new venture, you can purchase Robert Mondavi Private Selection X Woodzee Sierra sunglasses that are made from recycled oak wine barrels. The wood-framed, polarized sunglasses have a distinctive red tint because the barrels aged the Robert Mondavi Private Selection Coastal Crush Red blend.

Robert's parents had purchased the Charles Krug Winery in the early 1940s with the idea that their two sons would run the winery. After several management disagreements with his brother, Peter, Robert was forced out of Charles Krug and founded the Robert Mondavi Winery in 1966. His winery was the first major one that was built in the Napa Valley after the end of Prohibition. During this time period, there was not really a market for fine wines.

Robert Mondavi introduced the Private Selection label in 1994 to highlight wines that were produced from grapes grown in the North and Central Coast regions of California. Mondavi believed that wine was a form of art and that truly great wines began in the vineyard. In late 2004, Constellation Brands, which is the largest wine company in the world, purchased the winery.

The 2011 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Coastal Crush Red was produced with grapes that were grown in the Central Coast region of

California and is a blend that is primarily Syrah, Merlot and Malbec. It has strawberry and raspberry flavors, with some mocha on the finish. This wine retails for about $10 a bottle, which should make it easier for casual outdoor dining.

With the beautiful weather that we enjoy locally almost year round, we are able to entertain outdoors. Why not try cooking a beef bottom roast in an outdoor wood-fired oven using pecan as the wood of choice and served it with root vegetables and mashed potatoes topped with a gravy that has a little bit of the Robert Mondavi Private Selection Coastal Crush Red wine mixed in. Then serve the same wine to your guests on a sunny afternoon. If you really want to make a splash poolside, try out the Robert Mondavi Private Selection X Woodzee Sierra sunglasses. Not only do these sunglasses have a very unique style they also have a wonderful story and, who knows, maybe the wine that is being served was actually aged in the wood that makes up your pair of glasses.

Jim Rawe, a family attorney in Bradenton, is an avid collector of fine wines. He can be reached at jimrawe@gmail.com.

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