Review: Wines of Flat Top Hills, 2020 Releases
Flat Top Hills is a new line of wines from another member of the Mondavi family, Angelina Mondavi, marking “the first time a member of the ‘G4,’ the fourth generation of the family, has been involved in winemaking under the family-owned and family-run company banner.”
Unlike many Mondavi-driven wines, these are designed to be easily accessible and affordable. Thoughts on the initial quartet follow.
2018 Flat Top Hills Chardonnay California – Notes of butterscotch and lemon give the wine in immediate approachability, and the oak treatment, while present, is restrained enough to let the fruit do the heavy lifting. The finish recalls lychee and some baking spice, making for a surprisingly fresh and refreshing wine, particularly at this price. A- / $13
2018 Flat Top Hills Sauvignon Blanc California – Floral and fruity, this wine has a surprisingly unctuous body that forgoes the typical acidity and liveliness of California sauvignon blanc. The palate runs instead to figs, vanilla, and lemon curd, coming across closer to chardonnay than sauvignon blanc, with a hint of baking spice on the finish. It isn’t varietally expected, but it works well enough as a summery sipper. B / $13
2017 Flat Top Hills Cabernet Sauvignon California – Big and fruity, with over-the-top sweetness that feels wholly unnatural. A tea leaf and cola character give this a soft drink-like simplicity, and the essence of strawberry jam is simply overwhelming. C- / $15
2016 Flat Top Hills Red Blend California – Curiously, Flat Top notes the growing regions for this wine (Yolo County, Dunnigan Hills, Dry Creek Valley, Alexander Valley, and Sierra Foothills-District 11) but not the grape varietals. The result is a muddy and largely flat wine, heavy with both beef and barrel notes, its fruit dulled and lifeless. With time in glass the wine does manage to open up and uncover a cherry and cola-driven character on the palate, but it never elevates beyond this simplistic base. C / $15