The Tasting Panel magazine

June 2016

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june 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  75 Joe Harden grew up in a wine grape grow- ing family in Lodi with 35 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon. That didn't automatically put him on a path to winemaking, but it certainly piqued his interest. In college, playing bas- ketball at Notre Dame University was a thrill, but the Indiana winters were too cold, so he transferred to UC Davis where he continued to shoot hoops while simultaneously study- ing enology. After college he briefly pursued a professional basketball career including a stint with the Golden State Warriors Development League. But the lure of wine- making had by now taken hold: in 2012 he hung up his jersey and landed an internship at Robert Mondavi Winery, eventually rising to his current role as Winemaker. "I got my hands dirty in every aspect of production," he told The Tasting Panel, "from vineyard to cellar. What amazes me about working here at Robert Mondavi Winery is the history of 50 harvests on one ranch." Megan Schofield has been at Robert Mondavi Winery for just over a year, after some 15 years of cool-climate winemaking in both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys. A Canadian native from the Niagara winegrowing region, she received a degree in Enology and Viticulture from Brock University in Ontario. Upon graduation, she immediately set her sights on the Napa Valley for her first harvest, and has remained in the wine country's paradise-like set- ting ever since. She became familiar with Burgundian varietals through several winery stints, most recently as Winemaker for Simi, before taking on the role of Winemaker with Robert Mondavi Winery working with their Carneros-grown Pinots and Chards. Working at such an iconic Napa Valley prop- erty and alongside such a seasoned wine- maker and mentor as Genevieve Janssens is in Megan's words, "winemaking nirvana!" A new wine, Maestro, introduced this year, is a change in philosophy for Robert Mondavi Winery. The commemorative, 50th anniversary wine is not a varietally labeled bottling, but rather a Bordeaux-style blend. "Each year will be an artistic experi- ence of different blends," says Mark de Vere, MW, Director of Education for Robert Mondavi Winery. Chewy, rich, with chalky tannins; black cherry notes and mint dark chocolate make this 2013—its first vintage—an outstanding red from Napa Valley. —Meridith May Joe Harden (right) is carrying the torch for the winery's Cabernet Sauvignon and Fumé Blanc programs, while Megan Schofield (left) is working with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. They both work under Director of Winemaking Genevieve Janssens. Pictured in the middle is The Tasting Panel Publisher/ Editorial Director Meridith May. The Robert Mondavi Winery. INTRODUCING THE NEW FACES OF WINEMAKING at Robert Mondavi Winery

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