Robert Mondavi vs. Franciscan Estate: An Epic match between 2 Chards

I recently came across 2 similar bottles of Chardonnay in my collection and thought it would be interesting to taste them side by side. I often taste wines side by side with an end result of gaining some wisdom or at the very least, feeling pretty darn good.

In one corner stood an old pro, Robert Mondavi 2010 weighing in at $20 a bottle while Franciscan Estate 2011 stood in the opposite corner, rather confident, weighing in at $18 a bottle. They both had reasons why they were self-assured. They’re both from Napa Valley, malolactic fermented (Robert’s was partial), 13.5% alcohol, spending time in oak (French/American, New/Old).  Robert Mondavi aged 10 months and Franciscan Estate spent 7 months in the barrel.

Robert Mondavi threw the first few punches being a blend of 97% Chardonnay and 3 percent Sauvignon Blanc which I thought was VERY pronounced in the wine, rather satisfying. This lighter-bodied wine expressed tropical, citrus, tasty pineapple, and some oak notes. All of which made Franciscan Estate a little nervous, especially Robert Mondavi’s long creamy finish. This one is easily paired with food but even easier drinking by itself.  

Franciscan Estate returned a few solid upper cuts with its bold, fuller-bodied 100% Chardonnay. This showed notes of strong pear (and it was so delicious!), apple, lemon, very round and silky mouth feel. I really enjoyed the vanilla cream flavor that popped mid pallet finishing with a slight citrus tartness. I would say this is more of a “food wine” than not.

Who won the match you ask? Which bottle was down and out for the count? It was a good fight. Sláinte! TCW


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