M by Michael Mondavi 2015
Michael Mondavi’s grandfather taught Michael as a boy that all great winemakers, first and foremost, have respect for their soil. Making wine from the roots up, he said, is the only way to create a truly unique wine instilled with a sense of time and place. Years later, when Michael chose the vineyard site for M, those words were not far from his mind. He named the vineyard “Animo” (“soul” in Italian) because of his belief that it clearly expressed terroir (or sense of place). This vineyard, high atop Atlas Peak at an elevation of 1,400 feet on 15 acres of rocky, volcanic soil, would carry on its terroir through the vines into the grapes and, ultimately, finish in the glass.
Michael, with the assistance of his son Rob and Tony Coltrin, spent countless hours walking, tasting, and flagging small areas to be harvested - the end of a few rows, a circular plot in the middle of a vineyard block, even just one side of the vines in an area - in order to achieve the absolute peak of balance, ripeness, and flavor, resulting in as many as twelve different picks. The prized Crown Block, utilized for one exclusive barrel of M, is located on a small knoll in the corner of the vineyard. It may take as many as five separate harvest days to provide the perfectly ripe and balanced fruit.