Back in mid-July we visited Robert Mondavi Winery to check out one of its Summer Festival concerts featuring the Court Yard Hounds.
If you haven’t yet had the chance, go check out our photo gallery and initial take on the event.
Our evening started off with a private food and wine reception inside the winery, which was nice given the warm weather. We took a look around, snapped a few photos and headed outside to scope out the rest of the property. After locating our table, we noted the menu that detailed a seven course meal and the evening’s wine selections.
Winery Chef Jeff Mosher, who came to Robert Mondavi Winery following a stint as the executive chef at Julia’s Kitchen (now defunct) in Napa, created the menu. Chef Mosher has been responsible for the winery’s increasing focus on farm-to-table methods and we were able to tour the on-site gardens during intermission to get a first hand look–it’s impressive.
Here’s the menu with our thoughts/comments in parenthesis:
Summer Bean and Tomato Salad: Mixed greens, Laura Chenel goat cheese, toasted almonds, smoked tomato vinaigrette (Our favorite course of the night. It paired beautifully with the 2008 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Fume Blanc)
Grilled Summer Vegetables: Garden herb and lemon vinaigrette
Macaroni and Cheese with Fiscalini Cheddar (We were surprised to see this on the menu and even more surprised by how much we enjoyed it. This dish went nicely with the mellow 1986 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon)
Grilled Niman Ranch Flank Steak with Garden Basil Pesto (A perfectly cooked steak that went quite well with both the 1986 Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and the lively 2006 Robert Mondavi Winery Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon)
Local Cherries and Royal Blenheim Apricots (Excellent selection of fresh fruit, the sweet apricots were our favorite)
Plated Local Cheeses: Cameo–Goat’s Milk from Redwood Hill Farm; Farmstead Italian–Cow’s Milk from Valley Ford; Pepato–Sheep’s Milk from Bellwether Farms
Nectarine and Blackberry Cobbler: whipped vanilla cream
We were also interested to learn about the various tour/education/tasting options being offered by the winery.
Don’t feel like you’ve got to settle for the basic tasting room (which is often jam-packed with tourists, particularly in the Summer and Fall), instead call ahead and ask about the available options for doing something more personal and sophisticated–if our time at the Summer Festival is any indication, you won’t be sorry.