Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Fall of the House of Mondavi, & 2001 Woodbridge Red Dirt Ridge Cab

WoodbridgeOriginally, I started reading the April Business 2.0 magazine for the article on the open web services APIs of eBay, Amazon, Google and Yahoo. Yeah, I know, thrilling. But a few pages back in the same issue was this really interesting article($) on Robert Mondavi, his family, and the significant but now dwindling influence he’s had on the wine industry since the 40’s.

Business 2.0 requires you be a paid subscriber to read their stuff, so let me just summarize [very] briefly by saying that Robert Mondavi split from his brother at Krug in ‘65, turned his Napa wines into a worldwide success, broadened to mass appeal with Woodbridge, ultimately took his business public more out of necessity than anything else and then got bought out by Constellation Brands last year – leaving the Mondavi’s no longer in control of what they had built. Regardless of the relationship to wine, it’s an interesting read regarding losing control of one’s business.

Meanwhile, I had a Woodbridge wine on the rack and figured what better opportunity to open it. The “Select Vineyard Series” is the next tier up for the Woodbridge label. For these wines, their web site says:

“We've discovered which vineyards produce the finest grapes in the Lodi region for our Select Vineyard Series wines. …”

In this case, the Cabernet comes from the Red Dirt Ridge vineyard in the Lodi appellation. I’d originally selected it due to the Lodi designation and out of curiosity for wines that come from that region. There’s really nothing to dislike about this wine, but there simply wasn’t that much too it. The berry aromas are nice on the nose, but the mouth feel has very little structure and there’s virtually no finish – especially with food.

I paired this up with a basic meal of grilled steak (fillet) and potatoes. As far as I’m concerned, the wine was completely lost when paired up with food. Though, it’s actually pretty good just on its own after the fact or with a little chocolate.

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About $10.
 good on its own. Blackberry, black cherry, hints of oak. Nothing offensive, but not likely to inspire you.


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