WHAT THE HECK?!?
I belong to the
Robert Mondavi Ensemble Club. Membership
in the Ensemble Club is free (they used to charge you for the privilege of
belonging). As a member, I receive
four shipments of wine a year. I
have the option of receiving more than four shipments.
For example, I belong to the Rare Reds Club, which means that I receive
four shipments a year of Rare Reds according to Mondavi.
I joined the
Mondavi Ensemble Club because I am a sentimental-type guy.
Back in 1985, I attended a Mondavi wine-tasting seminar hosted by
Schneiderís Wines of Capital Hill in Washington, DC.
I was a novice wino at the time, feeling my oats because I was single and
the CFO of a company with a fresh IPO (and I was under 30 at the time, kind of
an early dot-commer). Mondaviís
representative gave us a number of wines to taste including a vertical of the
1981, 1982 and 1983 Cabernet Reserves. I
remember buying a case of the 1983 Cabernet (not the reserve, I wasnít ready
to plunk out that kind of money) and later buying a case of the 1984 Cabernet
and the 1985 Cabernet. During that
time period, Mondavi was probably the only vintner whose product I purchased 12
bottles at a time. Even more
interesting, despite the fact that my ďcellarĒ during those days was an
unfinished basement, I managed to slowly consume the cases, so slowly that only
two years ago did I polish off the last bottle of the 1985 while on vacation at
the beach with Wino John and his lovely wife.
Wino John seemed to enjoy the spirit, of course Wino John always enjoys a
hearty big Cabernet!
managed to stay an Ensemble member by shipping my wine to a business address in
West Virginia (since Maryland is as close to Nazi Germany as you can get with
their felony charges for wine shipments). Since
changing the law doesnít seem to be on anyoneís agenda, I even purchased a
mountainside estate in the land where sisters and brothers can marry (or
something like that!). Itís also
easy to remain incognito as long as you donít wear a suit and tie!
Two weeks ago,
I received my regular September shipment. Included
was a bottle of the 2001 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Zinfandel.
This was one of the yummiest Zinís that Iíve had in a while.
I liked it so much that I called Wino Mike and asked him to call his
buddies at Schneiderís and see if they could hold a case.
Wino Mike called me back and said that he could only get 5 bottles.
Later in the week, I journeyed to the palatial New Jersey homestead of
Wino John. WJ took me to his Jersey
connection, Nunzio the Wino, who said that he had not yet received the Mondavi
2001 Zinfandel (likely story, heís probably saving it for the special people).
On the way back from Wino Nunzioís, Wino John and I ran out of gas and
had to hike up the lane to his house from the front gate.
Good thing we had a couple of bottles of other bold reds purchased from
Nunzio and some cheese to tide us over during the journey!
to Baltimore, I called Mondavi and was able to order a case of the 2001 directly
from Ensemble. Winos, this is one wine worth joining the club for!
I paid $15.40 a bottle (memberís price) and know that Iíll enjoy
consuming this one for years (ok, maybe months since S.A.W. Sharon really likes
the yummy fruit taste of this baby).
October 24, 2003