Wine from Two Old Timers

When we began to explore the Napa Valley, there were only a small number of wineries where we could tour and taste wines. The time was in the late 1960s and early ’70s. The Charles Krug Winery and the Robert Mondavi Winery were two favorite wineries to visit and tour. Back in those days, tasting fees were nonexistent. Visitors to Napa Valley were few and far between.

Charles Krug has a long history, with 1861 the starting date. In 1943 the Mondavi Family purchased the winery and, to this day, owns and operates the winery. In 1965, the history gets interesting. Robert Mondavi and his younger brother Peter were operating the winery. The two clashed about winemaking and, in a heated argument, Robert landed two punches on Peter. The parents dismissed Robert, and off he went to establish the eponymous Robert Mondavi winery.

Robert Mondavi 2018 Fume Blanc and Charles Krug 2018 Merlot

These are two outstandiing wines made by these historic Napa Valley Wineries.

Robert Mondavi 2018 Napa Valley Fume Blanc

Robert Mondavi 2018 Napa Valley Fume Blanc

The late Robert Mondavi coined the term Fume Blanc. He thought Sauvignon Blanc was not descriptive enough on a label, so he decided to go with Fume Blanc. Yes, Fume Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc are the same grape.

This Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc is a beautiful and exotic white wine. There are tropical and stony notes, with a refreshing and lively taste. There is 13% Semillon grape in the wine, which yields a style much like a White Bordeaux wine. Plus, it is barrel fermented, adding a great mouthfeel. We purchased the Fume at Costco for $13.99. Total Wines carries it for $15.97.  The Robert Mondavi is a great party wine; forget typical Chardonnay! Scores: James Suckling 91 points, Wine Spectator 91 points, and we like it at 90 Points. 

Robert Mondavi Winery
The iconic Robert Mondavi Winery

Charles Krug 2018 Napa Valley Merlot

Charles Krug Merlot at Costco

The 2018 is a delicious and elegant red wine with lots of gentle dark fruit character. This is one wine that you will enjoy with a variety of dishes. It is medium bodied, with a great balance of tannins and acidy. Grilled chicken dishes, pork, and steak are ideal. 

This Merlot is very much in the style of Right Bank Bordeaux with a blend of 85% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, and 2% Petit Verdot. It has a bevy of high marks: 93 from James Suckling, and 90’s from Wine Enthusiast and Wine Spectator. We like it at 90 Points. The price at our local Costco is $16.99. The winery is selling it for $24 on their online wine shop.

Chrales Krug Winery 1861
Charles Krug is a excellent visiting experience.

More on Fume Blanc and Merlot and the Family Feud


  1. Joe Becerra says

    I am just back from Costco. The Robert Mondavi Fume Blanc is reduced to $11.99. It is a rebate at checkout of $3.00 a bottle.

  2. Mike Northup says

    I have to agree with the historical significance of these 2 wineries. I’ve had the pleasure of representing both of them back in the mid/late 70’s, which has included may visits to both wineries. Kudos to them both.

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