Thursday, April 14, 2011

Morton’s Steakhouse Presented Peter Mondavi Jr. at a Charles Krug Winemaker Dinner

Picture: Christian G.E.Schiller with Peter Mondavi Jr.

I joined third generation proprietor of Charles Krug Winery, Peter Mondavi Jr., for a winemaker dinner at Morton’s Steakhouse in Reston, Virginia.

Charles Krug (1825 – 1892)

The Charles Krug Winery has been owned for many decades by Mondavis, but it was founded by Charles Krug, a German. He was born as Karl Krug in Tendelburg, near Kassel, which at that time was part of Prussia. When he arrived in San Francisco in 1852, he came with no grape-growing or winemaking experience. He was a university-trained journalist (with controversial political beliefs – a supporter of the March revolution - for which he was briefly jailed in Prussia). Until 1854, he worked for the German San Francisco Staats-Zeitung.

In the following years, he would become the major local winery figure of his era, greatly influencing Napa Valley's development as a world-renown wine producing region. Charles Krug made the first commercial wine in the Napa Valley, and the winery he built in 1861 is where Napa wine began. His leadership was said to be inspirational. Innovations such as using a cider press to efficiently crush the grapes, planting insect-resistant rootstock, and establishing the first public tasting room, truly made him a founding father of the pioneer Napa Valley wine industry.

The Peter Mondavi Sen. Family

When Charles Krug died in 1892, the winery was purchased by his close friend, James Moffitt, a San Francisco banker, who owned the winery through prohibition and sold the winery to Cesare and Rosa Mondavi, Italian immigrants, in 1943. Cesare was 60 when he purchased the winery for $75,000. His two sons, Peter and Robert, both went to Stanford, then came back to run the winery. Cesare died in 1959. The Mondavi brothers Peter and Robert could not agree on the general direction of the Charles Krug Winery and in 1966 there was the famous breakup between the two brothers. Robert left, was paid off and founded the Robert Mondavi Winery. Peter stayed and has been at the helm of the Charles Krug Winery since then.

Pictures: Peter Mondavi Jr.

There were tremendous enological, viticultural and marketing innovations that Peter Mondavi undertook during the last four decades. Among them were vintage dated varietals, pioneering cold fermentation and sterilization for white wines, use of small French oak barrels and glass lined steel tanks.

Meanwhile, Peter's two sons -- Marc and Peter Jr. - were educated at UC Davis and Stanford, respectively, and have been playing a major role in winemaking and winery management since the early 1980's. Marc oversees the vineyards and winemaking, while Peter Jr. manages marketing, sales and general winery functions.

Peter Jr. told us that Peter Sen. - 97 years old - continues to come to the winery every day. “He has been named one of the 12 living legends in Napa Valley's history by the Napa Valley Vintners Association, reflecting is pioneering efforts to plant vineyards in the Carneros region with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and to introduce cold sterile filtration techniques and aging wine in small French oak barrels to the region” said Peter.

Charles Krug Winery

Located one-and-a-half miles north of St. Helena, “the Charles Krug Winery focuses production on lush red Bordeaux style blends, New Zealand style Sauvignon Blanc and classically crafted Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel” said Peter. Over the years, the Charles Krug Winery has grown to 850 acres of estate land. The wine portfolio comprises three groups of wines.

Napa Valley and Carneros Appellation Wines

The entry-level wines.

• Charles Krug Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
• Charles Krug Carneros Chardonnay
• Charles Krug Carneros Pinot Noir
• Charles Krug St. Helena Zinfandel
• Charles Krug Napa Valley Merlot
• Charles Krug Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Family Reserve

Wines produced from grapes harvested from specific vineyard blocks located in the prime vineyards. The Generations is a tribute to three generations of winemaking by the Mondavi Family while the Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon is the Flagship Cabernet Sauvignon.

• Charles Krug Family Reserve Generations
• Charles Krug Vintage Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

Limited Release

The Limited Release selection is produced in small lots from 100 to 500 cases and harvested from the finest clonal selections of cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir grapes from the Dr. Maurice Galante Vineyard in the Russian River, and additional blending varietals. 2005 launched the first year of release of these wines from the 2002 vintage.

• Charles Krug Limited Release Pinot Noir
• Charles Krug Limited Release St. Helena Zinfandel
• Charles Krug Limited Release Red Wine Voltz Vineyard
• Charles Krug Limited Release X Clones
• Charles Krug Limited Release Lot XIV Zinfandel Port

Menu for the Evening

Jumbo Lump Crab Cakes
Belgian Endive with Blue Cheese
Tuna Tartare, Diced Tomato and Avocado

Charles Krug, St. Helena - Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010

Mixed Field Greens
Topped with Grilled Colossal Shrimp

Charles Krug, Carneros Chardonnay, 2009

Filet Mignon
Chive Mashed Potatoes
Roasted Tomato Stuffed with Sauteed Spinach
Shiitake Mushrooms

Charles Krug, Vintage Selection - 125th Anniversary, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1980
Charles Krug, Vintage Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006
Charles Krug, Vintage Selection - 150th Anniversary, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008

Cheese Course
Green Hill (Jersey Cow Milk Cheese)
Roasted Wild Rice (Gouda)
GoreDawnZola (Gorgonzola)
Snow Drop (Goat Cheese)

Charles Krug, Zinfandel Port, Lot XIV

Chocolate Covered Strawberries

Picture: Tylor Field, III, Vice President, Wine and Spirits, Morton's

The Wines

Charles Krug, St. Helena - Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc, 2010

Varietal Content: 100% Sauvignon Blanc
Stainless Steel Fermentation: no malolactic
Alcohol: 14.2%
RS: 0.35 g/100ml
Cases Produced: 14,362
Suggested Retail: $18.00

Charles Krug, Carneros Chardonnay, 2009

Varietal Content: 100% Chardonnay
Time in Barrel: 10 months in French oak
Alcohol: 14.2%
RS: 0.09 g/100ml
Malolactic Fermentation: 23%
Production: 8,424 cases
Suggested Retail: $20.00

Charles Krug, Vintage Selection - 125th Anniversary, Cabernet Sauvignon, 1980

Varietal content: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Time in barrel: 14 months
Bottled: February 2009
Alcohol: 13%
Production: 8,600 cases

Charles Krug, Vintage Selection, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006

Varietal content: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Time in Barrel: 23 months in 100% new French oak
Bottled: September 2009
Alcohol: 14.7%
RS: 0.18g/100ml
Production: 1,655 cases

Charles Krug, Vintage Selection - 150th Anniversary, Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008

Varietal content: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot
Time in Barrel: 22 months in 100% new French oak
Bottled: September 2010
Alcohol: 15.0%
RS: 0.02g/100ml
Production: 664 cases

Charles Krug, Zinfandel Port, Lot XIV

Bottled: September 2010
Alcohol: 18.0%
pH: 3.91
TA: 0.59 g/100ml
RS: 7.50 g/100ml
Production: 455 cases
Suggested Retail: $35.00 (375ml)

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1 comment:

  1. Hello from Germany,

    thanks for your detailled article. We found a lot of new infos. thanks so much