2015 Michael Mondavi Family Animo Napa Valley Heritage Sauvignon Blanc

I like sauvignon blanc. A lot.

I know it’s not everybody’s cup of tea but this versatile variety is a regular guest in our glasses and at the table. Depending on what’s being served, I can go for something tart and juicy from New Zealand, or a glass of flinty crispness from the Loire Valley, or, on that rare occasion when I want a big white, something tropical and full-bodied from Napa.

That’s where a wine like Animo Heritage Sauvignon Blanc fits in.

In 2004 the Michael Mondavi Family Winery obtained cuttings from what is reputed to be the oldest surviving sauvignon blanc vines in North America. They believe the original vines had their own birth in the Loire Valley more than 100 years ago. But they’re not telling anybody where those vines might be.

Rob Mondavi, part of his family’s fourth generation to make wine in California, pressed the whole cluster fruit and transferred the juice to French oak barrels for fermentation. He kept the wine on the lees throughout, with weekly battonage. Aging in the same barrels ran five months before bottling.

I popped and poured, which was not so simple given the unnecessary heft of the bottle.

Once in the glass, abundant citrus aromas and flavors run from pink grapefruit through lemon and line, followed by rich pineapple, wet stones, bits of vanilla and a whisper of chalk.

There is a full, almost lush mouth feel, soft and velvety, An image of heavy, brocaded silk came to mind. Impressively, the wine’s weight is buttressed by bright, mouth-watering acid from the start, and this crisp, minerally structure carries through to an elegant and lengthy finish.

Over the next hour, the complexity of both aromas and flavors continued to grow, along with noticeably more concentration and depth. I don’t know when I last had such a powerful yet balanced sauvignon blanc, especially one where the alcohol was so seamlessly integrated. This wine shows no indication of fading in the short term. It has been built for the long haul.

My only hesitation in recommending this well made wine is the price tag. I can’t tell you if Animo Heritage Sauvignon Blanc is worth the cash. You have to decide that for yourself. Of course, with only 150 cases or so produced, the market might solve that quandary for you while you’re still wondering the same thing.

14.4% abv
6 barrels produced (approx. 150 cases)
SRP $65
Wine provided was a #sample from wineryIMG_3043

2 thoughts on “2015 Michael Mondavi Family Animo Napa Valley Heritage Sauvignon Blanc

    1. Tom Riley

      Seriously. I think of Spottswoode’s SB at almost half the price, as well as a few others from NorCal and this loses some allure by comparison. Thanks for reading.

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