Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Charles Krug Family Reserve Generations 2011

Peter Mondavi, Jr. tasted and tweeted about his family’s stake in the Napa Valley recently in a virtual tasting event held on Twitter.  The Charles Krug winery and vineyards have been around since 1861, but the Mondavi family bought the property in the 1940s and have run it since.  The Mondavi name is now a Napa Valley synonym.  Charles Krug is the oldest winery in California and Peter Mondavi, Sr. is perhaps the state's oldest vintner as he nears the century mark.

2011 was the 150th vintage for the Charles Krug label, and the Charles Krug Family Reserve Generations blend is from that vintage.  The very first vintage of Generations was produced in 1991 by Marc Mondavi.  The elder Peter Mondavi was partial to wines of a single variety, so his son had to show him that a blend was a viable option at a time when Cabernet Sauvignon was really taking off in the Napa Valley.  His argument was persuasive, and Generations was born.

This beautiful blend is composed of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec and 3% Merlot.  The winery says 2011 wasn't an easy vintage.  A cool growing season made harvest a few weeks later than usual, the yield was down by 30% and the sugar content of the grapes was 6% lower than they like.  They are, however, thrilled that so much flavor was captured in the bottle despite the obstacles.  This wine spent 20 months in new French oak barrels, hits a very reasonable 13.9% abv in alcohol and sells for $50.

It's a very dark ruby color, almost inky, and deep, dark notes appear on the nose to match.  Plum and blackberry aromas are dusted with a light mocha scent.  White pepper peeks through a bit.  Generation's flavors are equally impressive as plum leads the way for the spice and tobacco to follow.  A minty essence comes in late and stays on the finish.  The acidity makes my mouth water - that's what it's supposed to do - and the tannins are silky.