California’s Robert Mondavi releases unique bourbon and rum barrel aged wines

by James Wilkinson

Popular Californian wine brand Robert Mondavi has launched a world-first – wines aged in former spirit barrels.

The limited release barrel-aged 2018 Robert Mondavi Rum Barrel-Aged Merlot, the 2018 Robert Mondavi Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chardonnay and 2018 Robert Mondavi Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon are now available in Australia and they are exciting connoiseurs.

The unique spirit barrel-aged ‘Private Selection’ wines bring together some of California’s best winemaking and viticultural practices alongside world-renowned Southern traditions, bringing complexity and exceptional depth of flavour that cannot be achieved otherwise.

The limited release Robert Mondavi Private Selection barrel- aged wines also represent a forward-looking winemaking approach. By tweaking the time-tested process of barrel- aging, the new range features a familiar depth and substance with a twist of something modern.

All three Private Selection wines are sourced from premium vineyards along the Californian Monterey Coast – a dynamic growing region which is recognised for its ideal blend of fog, wind, chill and warm sunshine, almost every day, along with its ancient soils.

This enviable terroir delivers pristine fruit with an unmistakable sense of place – exceptional flavour, character and balance. Once picked, the grapes are blended, aged and then portions go into the barrel-aging process.

The wines spend between three and 10 months within 100% American Bourbon and Rum barrels to deliver flavours of vanilla, toasty oak and baking spices, and provide further structure.

“We are really proud of the latest Private Selection wines, especially being first-to-market with the Rum Barrel-Aged Merlot. 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,” says Glen Caughell Winemaker at Robert Mondavi Private Selection.

“Our philosophy at Robert Mondavi Private Selection has always been centred around innovation – passed on from our founding winemaker Robert Mondavi’s trailblazing legacy and ingenuity.

“We are thrilled to be able to launch this boundary kicking innovation – a perfect balance of premium Californian coastal fruit and barrel complexity to produce cleverly structured and expressive wines.”


Robert Mondavi Private Selection winemaker, Glen Caughell, looks at what to expect with the exciting new releases.

2018 Robert Mondavi Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chardonnay

The 2018 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Chardonnay, Bourbon barrel-aged for nine months, is golden straw in colour with intense aromas of grilled pineapple, baked spice pear, toasted marshmallow and vanilla bean. Flavours of grilled pineapple, toffee, with baking spices and toasty oak. This rich, creamy and concentrated wine has balanced acidity and a lingering finish.

2018 Robert Mondavi Rum Barrel-Aged Merlot

The 2018 Rum Barrel-Aged Merlot, Rum barrel-aged for 10 months, shows dark ruby red in colour, rich, sweet aromas of blackstrap molasses, vanilla, mocha, cocoa powder, maple, tobacco leaf, and spiced rum cake. Ripe concentrated flavours of black cherry, black raspberry, caramel, brown sugar, baking spice, sweet oak, vanilla and dark chocolate carry through to a long, lush and sweet finish.

2018 Robert Mondavi Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Bourbon Barrel-Aged Cabernet Sauvignon, Bourbon barrel-aged for three months, is particularly suited for Bourbon barrel-aging because its intensely rich fruit character isn’t overwhelmed by the flavours of the charred casks. The wine is rich, weighty and full-bodied on the palate. It finishes with robust flavours of black cherry and blackberry.

The Robert Mondavi Private Selection range is available now at BWS, Dan Murphy’s, Liquorland and First Choice Liquor Market nationally for AU$25 each.