Robert Mondavi Private Selection debuts its first-ever red wine aged in rye whiskey barrels as part of its 2021 collection launch.

While we’ve seen the line between the worlds of wine and whisky blur once in a while, but it’s usually whisky that taps on wine’s heritage and influence to create some interesting products. In recent years we’ve seen how Glenfiddich tapped on rare French cuvée oak casks for its limited-edition Glenfiddich Grand Cru, while Glenmorangie has also a penchant for cask-finishing whiskies in ex-wine barrels – Amontillado sherry casks for the Glenmorangie Tayne, for example, and Madeira ones for the Glenmorangie Bacalta.

The reverse holds true as well, if just a little less so. Robert Mondavi Private Selection – the prestigious and more experimental extension of the esteemed pioneering Californian wine brand – a few years earlier had introduced a range of wines that were aged in barrels that previously held brown spirit. They were a Chardonnay that was barrel aged in bourbon barrels, a Cabernet Sauvignon that was also matured in bourbon barrels, as well as a Merlot that was aged in ex-rum casks.

The latest to join the Robert Mondavi Private Selection family of spirit-influenced wines is their Rye Barrel-Aged Red Blend. Like the other two reds in the collection the fruit for this expression is sourced from premium vineyards in California’s Central Coast and Lodi regions. Once picked, the grapes are blended, and then portions – between 10-15% – go in those casks that once held spirit for further aging for up to 8-10 months.


Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2021 range lifestyle

The Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2021 spirits barrel-aging range announced for Asia Pacific including Singapore are:

    • 2018 Rye Barrel-Aged Red Blend, a red wine blend that’s been aged in rye whisky barrels for 10 months, imparting hints of tobacco, toasted oak, and gingerbread spice from the barrels;
    • 2019 Rum Barrel-Aged Merlot, a Merlot that’s been aged in rum barrels for 10 months, the barrels affording notes of caramel, brown sugar, baking spice and sweet vanilla to the wine;
    • 2019 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, a Cabernet Sauvignon matured for 10 months in bourbon barrels, acquiring flavours of toasted coconut and vanilla, along with sweet spices, to accentuate the black cherry and blackberry notes from the fruit; and
    • 2019 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chardonnay, a Chardonnay aged in bourbon barrels for 8 months, picking up notes of grilled pineapple, toffee, wood spices and toasty oak in the wine

Glen Caughell, Winemaker at Robert Mondavi Private Selection, says that they acquire the barrels from different whiskey and rum makers as they are not able to consistently get a supply of barrels from just one source. “New spirit barrels are important. We get barrels from producers in the Midwest, and from High West if we can get them,” Caughell tells us. As for ex-rum barrels, Caughell says they are currently using a lot of ex-Jamaica rum barrels.

“We do try a lot of whiskeys and rums so we have an idea of what we want to do with our wines, of course!” he laughs.

“We are really proud of the latest wines, especially being first-to-market with the Rye Barrel-Aged Red Blend. These wines are crafted to be true reflections of their origins but with a unique barrel-aged twist. They are a modern take on world class Californian wines,”  Caughell added.

Each of the wines in the Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2021 are currently available at a retail selling price of S$51.00. They can be purchased from Culina at COMO Dempsey, NUTC Fairprice Online, Amazon, and RedMart.

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