M by Michael Mondavi is a rare, single-vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon crafted from a mountain vineyard high atop Atlas Peak in the Napa Valley on 15 acres of rocky, volcanic soil. The vineyard, named Animo, which means "soul" in Italian, was originally planted by Michael in the early 1990's at an elevation of 1,350 feet. Recognizing the special potential of this unique terroir, Michael decided that when the vineyard was ready it would someday be used to make his signature wine.
Stylistically, M is reminiscent of the Cabernets that Michael made in the late 1960s and early 1970s when he worked as head winemaker at Robert Mondavi winery. M reflects Michael's vision for a great wine – complex and layered, made to be enjoyed with a meal, revealing itself slowly over time, and inviting you back for a second glass.
The key to M's balance is the careful fruit selection, with countless hours spent walking the vineyard rows and picking small lot parcels based on flavor - the actual harvest can easily exceed a dozen different pickings so as to not compromise on any aspect of fruit quality.
After fermentation, the wine spends 22 months in French oak. From a selection of over 120 barrels, Michael tastes each barrel and chooses only the very best for M, declassifying the rest. The result is approximate 30 barrels of beautifully balanced Cabernet, capable of gracefully aging for decades.
The striking silkscreen label on the M bottle was designed by former Gucci designer, Karen Joyce. The image represents an artistic interpretation of the vineyard roots and soil, symbolizing the unique terroir of Animo and its influence on the wine inside the bottle.