Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Robert Mondavi Private Selection 2005 Vinetta

I usually avoid big name labels like Robert Mondavi, but I was recently reading George Taber's "Judgment of Paris," which gives great background on some of the most well known Napa wineries that beat some of the most highly regarded French wines in a blind tasting in 1976 in Paris, and I thought I'd give this one a try.

I probably spent around $10 for this Bordeaux-style wine (68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Petite Sirah, 5% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc) at Nob Hill, even though I thought there was a good chance it might taste too fake, too sugary, and too oaky, like a lot of large-production wines from big companies trying to appeal to the mass market. However, I liked the combination of grapes in this bottle, as well as the relatively low alcohol level - "only" 13.5%, which, compared to a lot of California red wines, is on the lower side of things.

A little over 80 percent of the grapes came from the Central Coast AVA, specifically Monterey County and Paso Robles area, according to the Robert Mondavi website.

The 2005 growing season was cool during the summer, with a warm fall that extended the growing season, allowing the grapes to hang longer on the vine, developing more intensity without high alcohol levels, the site says.

I really enjoyed this wine. It had scents of liquorish and cherries on the nose, with a mouthfull of dark red fruits. There's definitely some oak in there (it was aged in French oak for 14 months), but it's not an overriding flavor. Nice balance, some complexity stemming from the mix of grape varietals, and for $10, a good deal.

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