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This morning was spent at the beautiful Robert Mondavi Winery.  This winery is located just north of the famed Oakville Grocery on Highway 29.

Robert Mondavi’s parents emigrated from Italy in 1908 and settled in Napa in 1943 when they purchased the Charles Krug Winery for $75,000.  That same year, Robert joined his father and brother Peter in the business.  In 1965 Robert left the family business and a year later started his own winery at its present location.  His goal was to produce wines that would rival the finest of Europe.

In the 60’s, not much wine was consumed but French wines were predominate.  It took Robert lots of hard work and 30 years later, California wines rivaled those of France.

Today’s visit ended with a luncheon at the Winery with food prepared by Chef Jeff Mosher.  We helped by picking some of the herbs and lettuce from the garden and did a bit of prep.

We were served a Peach Salad with garden greens, Laura Chenel goat cheese, toasted Pistachios and a Verjus vinaigrette.  With the salad, our host, Dana, served us a 2010 Napa Valley Fumé Blanc.

Next, with a 2009 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon, we ate braised local lamb shoulder, faro, grilled garden squash, garden chard, gremolata and Nicoise olive juice.  (Fabulous!)

Desert was an apricot tart, served with peach leaf ice cream topped with toasted almonds.  Desert was accompanied with a 2010 Napa Valley Moscato d”Oro.  Yes you saw that – peach leaf ice cream.  It gave the ice cream a yummy almond flavor.  (Wash the leaves and scrunch them up.  When you heat up the milk and cream for the ice cream. Put the leaves in and bring to a boil? Simmer?  And then leave them in the saucepan for an hour or so before tempering in the eggs.  Remove the leaves and continue with your recipe.)

 

This afternoon we drove up the slopes on the eastern side of the valley to visit a winery called OVID. This winery is on top of a mountain with about 10 other wineries.  The architect for the winery and the residence was Howard J. Backen, the designer was Nicole Hollis and the landscape architect was Mark W. Bowers.  You can see photographs in March 2010’s Architectural Digest.  The owners of this property are quite exceptional. Their operation is solar powered and is organically farmed.  They have been certified green.  The grapes are gravity fed into small concrete and wood tanks for the fermentation process, then are moved into oak caskets for the rest of the wine making process.