Vino People No. 26: Nova Cadamatre of Mondavi Winery, California

Nova Cadamatre, Winemaker at Robert Mondavi Winery in charge of the red varieties (Bordeaux varieties and Pinot Noir)

©MondaviWinery Nova Cadamatre

©MondaviWinery Nova Cadamatre

The best advice I ever got: From my viticulture professor at Cornell, the late Dr. Robert Pool on our first day of class “There are only two things that I must impress upon you this semester. First, you can’t make great wine from bad grapes. This is a fact of life.  Second, if you are going to make your living in winemaking, find a good dentist!”
My life motto: If something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.
I am currently reading: What to Expect the First Year (goes along with my new baby!) and wine-related: Divine Vintage: Following the Wine Trail from Genesis to the Modern Age
The most-played track on my iPod: Currently the most played is “The Moment” by Eminem.  This song is an anthem for anyone who has reached for something greater and   through my MW studies has helped me get through some moments of struggle.
A wine that surprised me recently: Chile has really stepped up its winemaking quality over the past two vintages.  Previously I could always tell a Chilean red wine due to a certain weedy character but more and more this is disappearing, at least in the wines that I have tasted recently.
My favourite newspaper/magazine: I love reading Garden and Gun magazine.  It’s purely a Southern thing covering everything from making the perfect cocktail to what qualities to look for when choosing a new puppy plus has great Southern recipes.
My desert-island wine: I have too many favorite wines to pick just one.
If I didn’t do my current job I would be: A Broadway performer.  I almost changed my major from horticulture to Musical Theater in college before I discovered wine.  I should have known I was less interested in that than microbiology when I couldn’t come up with an audition date that didn’t conflict with my microbiology classes. I still love musicals though.
I most admire in people: Sincerity.  I just want people to be sincere.  I   can’t stand fakeness.  I care less about if people love me or don’t than if they aren’t real about it.
I really detest: Mosquitoes.  I can deal with just about anything else but as far as I know mosquitoes serve no real purpose other than to be annoying.
The skill I don’t currently possess but would like   to have: Learning languages easily.  I’ve been working my whole life to learn French and just now am feeling somewhat secure in my knowledge.  If I could pick up languages faster I’d love to learn Italian, Spanish, German, and Chinese as well.
I relax while: Gardening or reading.  There is just something relaxing about having your hands in the soil and good hard manual labor.  I also have a weakness for fiction novels.  It lets me get lost in another world for a while. I like to bake as well but I always get nervous about the calories later…
I have learnt a lot from: My parents. My mother is an artist and my father is an engineer.  I’ve always felt it was a quirky combination but I learned from my mother to dream and from my father to be practical both of which keep life fun but realistic.
My first taste of wine was: I plead the 5th!
My last meal and sip will be: If I’m going out and I know about it ahead of time I’m going out with a bang! Aperitif: Kir Royal (for some reason I have a weakness for those things but only in France.  The ones in the US I’ve had do not taste the same!) Appetizer: Caviar with Vintage ChampagneFirst Course: Foie gras and truffles with steamed asparagus and a Grand Cru Classe Sauternes Palate cleanser: Rose and lime sorbet with a Clare Valley Riesling (or Finger Lakes Riesling) Fish Course: Steamed Snow crab legs and clarified butter with a Meursault.Meat course: Filet Mignon with garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed spinach with the best Cabernet I can find. Dessert: Crème Brulee with fresh berries and a Central Otago Pinot Noir (or Burgundy, I’m not picky) Digestif: Malmsey Madeira. Because you only live once right?
What do you want to show most in your wine? The vineyard and its sense of place.  If someone drinking one of my wines can have a clear sense of what the terroir is about then I’ve done my job. Outside of the quality being preserved, the   winemaking being clean, and the oak balanced I don’t want them to be thinking about the  winemaking, just the beauty of the vineyard.