Wednesday, August 11, 2010

An Evening With The Mondavi Family

Mr. A's "Boy's Night Out" wine group was invited for dinner at Tim Mondavi's home in Napa Valley a few weeks ago. Luckily the wives were included! I had no idea what to expect as I really know very little about wine, so I was very happy to be a part of it all.
It was a fabulous evening and one I'll always remember to say the least!

The Tour:

We begain the evening with a tour of Continuum Estate, led by Carissa Mondavi, Tim's daughter.

Since leaving Robert Mondavi Winery, Robert's son Tim and daughter Marcia, along with their children formed Continuum. It is a culmination of their family's four generations of growing wine and Tim's four decades as a winemaker.

Located high atop Pritchard Hill, the winery commands glorious views of Lake Hennessey and as far away as San Francisco on a clear day!

After touring the winery, we went to Tim Mondavi's home for a very special Robert Mondavi and Continuum wine tasting and alfresco dinner under the stars.

The Tablescape:

The table was set under an arbor along side the pool.
A lovely matelasse tablecloth covered the entire table to the floor.

The center of the table was exquisite with bouquets of sunflowers, dahlias and roses from the garden.

The late evening sun was casting beautiful light on the table, making all those glasses glisten.

In fact, I've never seen so many wine glasses on one table!

How magical is this setting with the infinity pool, view of the trees and hills beyond!

The Wine:

This represents a flight of Robert Mondavi Cabernet Reserve, beginning with 1971, with various reserves in between ending in 1999. The Opus One was Robert Mondavi's joint venture with The Baron Phillipe de Rothschild. The three bottles in front are from Continuum Estate.

The first of the bottles in the vertical tasting were decanted....

and discussed.....

What a rare treat for us all. Especially for Robert's son, daughter and grandchildren to be able to taste their father's wine made so long ago.

The Dinner:

Our menu.

We were pinching ourselves at this point! It doesn't get any better than this!
(Tim Mondavi is standing and his sister Marcia Mondavi Borger with her back to the camera.)

The first course was fresh ricotta gnocchi with Hopper Shrimp, heirloom tomatoes and basil. Absolutely delicious!

The main course of grilled Niman Ranch beef tenderloin with maiitake mushrooms.
The side dishes were summer bean and corn succotash and roasted new potatoes.

Kevin on the left, who brought most of the Robert Mondavi Reserve wines, and Tim Mondavi who also pulled wines from his cellar.

We were each given a small pour to sample. Then, we discussed, compared and made notes.
It seemed a shame to pour out the remainder of the wine, but this was a vertical tasting and there were a lot of wines to taste!

Eric Symons accompanied us with his virtuoso spanish guitar during dinner.
What a treat!

That's our BNO member Alex from Vineyard Gate Wine Sellars (looking at the camera). He and Carissa Mondavi (at the end) arranged the evening.

After a trio of artisanal cheeses, a dessert of huckleberry ice cream completed the meal.

Chef Sarah Scott came out for a bow! The dinner was flawless!
She was the executive chef for Robert Mondavi Winery for 14 years and is coming out with a cookbook in October. It's called "The Wild Table" featuring recipes for wild game and foraged food.

I've included some thoughts about the evening from a few BNO members:

Kevin commented: "There are nice events, and there are special events, and this was very special. You know a special event when the buzz from the excitement is still going strong days later."

Matt wrote: "I’ve been giving our dinner on Thursday night a lot of thought and have been struggling to describe it to people.... there were a number of firsts for me; first time on Pritchard Hill with that amazing landscape, surrounded by many of the best vineyards and wineries in America, first time to witness the birth of what will no doubt be one of the most talked about wineries and vineyards in America, Continuum, and first time meeting Tim Mondavi, a legend in the winemaking business. He is one of the most passionate, humble, energetic, intelligent and fun loving people I have ever encountered."

Alex later wrote to Carissa: "Last night's experience is hard to put into words, but it was everything that everyone in our group could only dream about until last night. Our compliments to you for the magnificent arrangement: from Eric Symon's rapturous guitar-playing the glittering table setting, and to Sarah Scott's mouth-watering cuisine. Even Mother Nature cooperated and blessed us with the mildest night in recent memory. To put simply, we were all blown away."

"On behalf of everyone in our group, thank you, your father, your aunt and your family and staff for a most memorable celebration last night. What a dazzling tribute to the singular wines that your family has made over the decades and to the celebration of life that your grandfather (who was certainly present in spirit) stood for and the Mondavi family have cherished."

Be sure to check out Continuum Estate's website here.

Also, check out Alex's online wine store here, and his blog here.

For information on ordering Sarah Scott's cookbook, click here.

I'm linking up to Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for Tablescape Thursday, then on Friday, I'll be joining Michael at Designs by Gollum for Foodie Friday!

Thanks Ladies for hosting.

On Friday, I'm linking up with Artie at Color Between the Lines for Vignette Friday!

Pin It!


The Sewing and Knitting Loft said...

What a lovely and special evening. Thank you for sharing it with us.


Donna@Conghaile Cottage said...

"What an incredible event"!!!

Cathy~Mille Fleur said...

Beautiful evening...beautiful scenery...beautiful food and wine...who could ask for more?!


Blondie's Journal said...

How lovely to be part of this wonderful evening. I did gasp when I saw all those wine glasses!


Vanessa said...

Oh my! What an incredible evening! A few years ago while in Napa, my hubby and I were privileged to see the legendary jazz artist Dave Brubeck perform a concert at the Mondavi Estate. Sitting on a blanket on the lawn, wine glasses in our hands,it was one of those evenings that you never forget and a memory we will always treasure!

Komali Nunna said...

What an experience remember! Incredible!

Sharing with Sherri said...

Oh my Delores, how wonderful! Now that's what I call livin the good life;) Beautiful photo of the lake too!


savvycityfarmer said...

I am in a state of just a teensy weeny bit of envy ...
BUT so happy for you to have had this experience ... I feel like I lived it through you, darling.

the estate is beautiful

... we will sell no wine before its' time ....
ooops wrong family

Anonymous said...

Beautiful post and photos, bravoo!
Big kisses for you:)
Zondra Art

Allie and Pattie said...

What a memorable evening. I'm so glad you shared it- thank you
xoxo Pattie

Bonnie said...

Incredible evening. Thank you for allowing us to enjoy it vicariously.

Mariette VandenMunckhof-Vedder said...

Dearest Delores,

That was a memorable 'high class' evening with great friends! The table setting; wines; foods; flower arrangements; music entertainment and surroundings were all excellent! We've been a few times at such banquets ourselves and it does lift you up for days after; even for years...
The wording in the thoughts, at the end of your blog are so well phrased and with such depth. Truly a 'Continuum' in your memory...

Greetings from Georgia/USA


Rachel said...

I do not drink and have never tasted wine but I can appreciate a flawless dinner party! The beef looked divine and I am sure tasted even better! Thank you for sharing your experience with us!

Kim @ Savvy Southern Style said...

Looks like a wonderful fun evening. I have never seen so many glasses on one table.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Thanks for sharing your wonderful evening with us! What a beautiful setting!

Unknown said...

What a wonderful evening! Everything looked lovely and sounds like the wine and food was a real treat. I wonder if Sarah Scott was the chef when I had a chance to dine at the Mondavi Winery. You said she was coming out with a wild game cookbook and at that dinner we had quail, artisan sausages, and one other wild game if I remember correctly. I was so taken in by eating under the olive trees next to the vineyard that all I remember was how fabulous it all was; one of the best meals I've had. I've also had a chance to try a wine over at Opus, but never at Continuum. Perhaps my next visit to Napa Valley?

Thanks for taking so many wonderful pictures so we could experience it all!

Debby said...

Thanks for sharing such a special evening. The wine glasses look like bubbles.....spectacular.

Linda@Coastal Charm said...

Such a beautiful place...looks like I would just love hanging ou there one night with Mr.CC...thanks for taking me along. Coming by from Tablescape Thursday.


Debbie said...

How wonderful to experience such a lovely evening. Thank you for sharing it with us.

The Style Sisters said...

Wow oh wow! This is magnificent. I don't drink but I would come just for the food and ambience! Beautiful just beautiful! Stop by and enter Centerpiece Wednesday on my blog. Love the centerpiece!!

Barbara said...

Thank you so much for sharing this with us! I enjoyed each and every detail. I agree, seeing all those wine glasses on the table was really something. I love the quiet elegance of this table.

Marigene said...

OMG, what a sight...gorgeous, the candlelight photo.

Carrie said...

Wow, thank you for sharing this extraordinary evening with us!

The Decorative Dreamer said...

Looks like a fantastic night! I've never seen so many wine glasses on one table either! Thanks for sharing this with us, so neat!

Sherry @ No Minimalist Here said...

Hi Delores, This sounds like a wonderful evening and what a gorgeous view. I have never seen so many wine glasses on a table before! Please drop by and enter my giveaway.
Hugs, Sherry

xinex said...

I have never seen so many wine glasses on a table as this either but it's gorgeous. Looks very special. What a treat for you all! The food looks scrumptious....Christine

Kate Dickerson, C'est si Bon! La Joie de Vivre! said...

This is the first tablescape I have looked at this week, and I already know it's going to be my favorite! What a great write-up of the day into evening. It must have been magical and you're right that it doesn't get any better than this. Thanks for sharing all the details, including the menu!

Beth said...

What a fabulous meal and evening! Thank you for sharing it with us!

The Tablescaper said...

What a lovely evening. All of those wine glasses, man. Love the flowers.

- The Tablescaper

Signing Out said...

Amazing! What a fabulous place! I can almost taste the food and wine. Wonderful!

Yvonne @ StoneGable said...

An exquisite post and an oppulent evening!
The table is perfection as well as the pictures. I need to spend a lot more time on pouring over this. I am thinking tomorrow over granola and a cup of coffee!
Thank you so much for sharing your VERY special evening.
Dont' you LOVE the logo? It is amazing!

Self Sagacity said...

Thanks for the tour! The good life looks like that way I've always imagined it to be, now more vivid as I see with your photos. Glad I clicked your link from OutDoor Wednesday. Anytime you're looking for some humble guests...please look me up. Smiles.

craftyles said...

WHat a wonderful evening you must have had. It looks so beautiful-the setting, the wine the food-everything. Thanks for sharing.

Tamra said...

What an unbelievably lovely evening!

Thank you for sharing!


Coty Farquhar said...

It's absolutely stunning Delores, it takes my breath away, what a treat, what a wonderful time you have had.

and I too have never seen so many glasses on a table. What a wonderful part of the world you live in.

Sending lots of hugs,
xxxx Coty

Tracie~MyPetiteMaison said...

Hi Delores,
I can see why you had to pinch yourselves for that moment in time, I am doing so in viewing this post. What a truly wonderful experience for you! We are so fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful places in the world and a post like this just makes me realize even more the history in this beautiful Wine Country. The huckleberry dessert is what caught my eye on the menu and of course, the wine... always the wine!
What an experience, thank you for sharing tonight.

Maggie said...

Thank you for taking me along to your wonderful dinner & wine tasting evening with the Mondavi family, I was totally spellbound. Opus One has long been a favourite of ours and I know my husband will enjoy reading your post very much too.
Merci beaucoup.

Rettabug said...

Whoa....I literally gasped when that 3rd photo appeared! What a spectacular view from atop Pritchard Hill!

Then the long view of the table appeared & I just about fainted!! All that wonderful Riedel crystal. (it IS Riedel, is it not?) They look like bubbles!!!!!

Such an elegant table & yet such a casual treatment for the napkins & menu the juxtaposition!

That menu is unbelievable! How fortunate you were to be able to partake & enjoy such a feast.

A magical night, indeed. Can I brag to my friends that I know you & you were there??? Maybe some of the magic will rub off. ;-)


Carol at Serendipity said...

My idea of heaven! What a wonderful experience.Thank you so much for sharing.


niartist said...

STUNNING!!! I don't think I've ever seen that many wine glasses on one table either! LOL! I'm so jealous!!! Just a reminder - my Friday Vignette's post is tomorrow, and I'd love it if you'd link up! Even pictures from this post - the vignettes are great! :) Hope you join in! :) Artie

La Dolfina said...

What an unbelievable experience you all had together! Unreal. Your photos and descriptions were tantalizing... I felt like I was there and could almost taste and smell it all!!!
Thank you so much for sharing this amazing day into evening with all of us. Surely a memory to last a lifetime!!

Sweetladyelaine said...

Just beautiful pics! I love the centerpeices...thank you for sharing!

Christi @ A Southern Life said...

WOW! I am blown away just reading about this. How incredibly lucky you are! I about fainted when I saw the wines with the Opus in front. Love that stuff, although it is a rare treat these days.

Beautiful setting, beautiful table, beautiful food and fabulous wine - it doesn't get much better than that!

Christi @ A Southern Life

Elizabeth and Gary said...

Hi Delores,
What a delightful evening! The dinner menu sounded absolutely mouth watering..From your photo's it was a perfect evening shared by friends..
Have a sweet day, Hugs~Elizabeth

Things That Inspire said... life get any better than a beautiful evening and an exquisite dinner at a gorgeous vineyard! I am sure that was an evening you will never forget. So beautiful.

I am having the best time visiting all of the tables from this week! Yours is quite a special treat, thank you for sharing!

Heather at Satisfying Spaces said...

You are such a lucky girl!

Marlis said...

I feel so blessed that you shared this wonderful evening with us. It's truly the best treat. thank you.

Anonymous said...

What an amazing experience. I love the shots with all of those wine glasses lined up on the table. You had to know you were in for a whole lot of fun and an education to boot. How exciting. Opus One is my all time favorite and I have only had it twice. Those table linens, the oak colored damask, are gorgeous. So much eye candy and then the food and wine too. A literal feast for the senses.

Entertaining Women said...

Wow...such a special opportunity! They would probably be trying to figure out what to do with me because I would probably still be sitting at the table in a trance. Thank you for sharing your magnificent experience with us. Cherry Kay

Lori E said...

My husband and I have enjoyed Mondavi wines for many years....not so easy to come across in British Columbia at times but we sought them out.
We were surprised to find some in a tiny liquor store near our cabin and grabbed what we could to stock up.
I am so green with envy for your beautiful evening out. Capital G r e e n with envy.
Thanks for sharing.

niartist said...

YAY! You played! WHOO HOO! I loved this post! I hope you play again and again and again! :)

Kathy said...

OMG!...what a great evening. thanks for sharing with us. I love Napa and Sonoma.

Inspired2cook said...

Can I just say that I'm completely envious about your Mondavi wine evening? Wow!! What a fantastic night!!! I've been to a few Oregon winery dinners but not at that scale.

Unknown said...

What a GORGEOUS setting and dinner!! All those wine glasses, lol! I would have been in heaven...glad wives got to go and you shared with us :)


My Slice of Heaven said...

Wow, a night with the Mondavi family! I am a wine lover and buy Mondavi wine frequently. Your pictures make me wish I could be back in Napa now...

Low Tide High Style said...

What an absolutely magical evening! Thanks so much for taking us along with you! The menu looked divine, and how wonderful to share it with such gracious and knowledgeable hosts!

Kat :)

Southerncook said...

What an amazing experience. The tablesetting is just gorgeous and the food looked fabulous not to mention tasting good wine. Everything truly did look magical. Thank you for sharing it.

I saw that you too are a big fan of Bunny Williams as I am. I met her and her husband a couple of years ago at an antique event. She's fabulous and I credit her with my renewed view of my own home of 29 years as a result of her book.

Carolyn/A Southerners Notebook

Katy Noelle said...

Oh, Delores! I have tears in my eyes - I am so happy for you. What a precious as diamonds evening! I can just see through the windows of your photos what a special evening you had. Talk about "the real thing!"

Love, Katy Noelle

Bargain Decorating with Laurie said...

Oh Delores, you do live THE life! What a wonderful experience! That table filled with wine glasses and California flower arrangements is incredible, and the dinner menu-oh my! of course, the views are incredible too. My brother-in-law and his wife often go to Calif. for wine tasting tours, and even own a small part in a winery. when they've tried to describe these events, their words just didn't capture it, but your photos did. Thank you so much for sharing this event. laurie

Julio Muao said...

What an amazing evening Delores! You are so fortunate. Thank you very much sharing this special event with us. You clearly experience joie de vivre!

Kitty Deschanel said...

This looks amazing! Oh, to be a guest at your table :)

Milk and Honey Home said...

That would be one of the best nights of my life! So fun & yummy....thanks for taking us along.

The Charm of Home said...

Wonderful! So glad the weather was beautiful. What a memorable evening.

Deborah Blount said...

What a beautiful and memorable evening....thanks so much for sharing! I'm glad I discovered your vignettes, they literally draw you in and make you appreciate the little everyday beauties in life, which I love...thank you, Rashon! Debi

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