Michael Mondavi Annouces Super-ultrapremium Wine Launch

M by Michael Mondavi hits this Fall.

This week Michael Mondavi announced the launch of the first super-ultrapremium wine released under his family's Folio Fine Wine Partners. M by Michael Mondavi, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, will hit restaurants and store shelves this Fall.

The grapes come from a vineyard purchased and planted by Mondavi in 1998 on Atlas Peak. Production will be limited to under 700 cases. The retail price is set at $200.

Mondavi said the alcohol level is a relatively modest 14.1%. "Our goal going forward is [to get it] under 14. Many of the wines I made [at Robert Mondavi Winery] from 1966 to 1974, when my brother Tim became winemaker, were in the 12.5 to 13.5% range. I've gone back tasted them recently and they're spectacular. I don't think the higher alcohol wines age as well."

Asked about the price, Mondavi explained, "We tasted a number of the usual suspects, the cult wines, blind, in a 'pricing tasting.' And it came out that, relatively speaking, our pricing came out way above many of those. So we priced it below some of them and slightly above some of the others it showed better than." Mondavi also emphasized the high cost of farming the 15-acre Animo vineyard.

The winemaking team consisted of Mr. Mondavi, his associate since 1976, Tony Coltrin, and Mr. Mondavi's son, Rob.

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