I've recently sampled three wines from the Robert Mondavi Private selection line. People are
always asking me to recommend wines in the ten dollar range. My radar usually scans a few
levels bit higher, but these well conceived wines, at a suggested retail each of $11.00, will
absolutely fill the bill. They are largely Central Coast in origin, and in each case reflect some
pretty solid grape growing and winemaking.
The 2008 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc is bottled under a California
appellation, though with a decidedly Central Coast source, in this case 92% Monterey County.
The Sauvignon Blanc is plumped up with 3% each of both Riesling and Gewurztraminer. This
wine is cool fermented entirely in stainless steel, then aged on the lees in tank several
months. What we get is a good mainstream California Sauvignon Blanc with excellent acidity
and forward fruit. The nose enjoys some solid lemon citrus with pineapple in the background,
the palate more papaya, melon and peach with some lemon weaving around. You get a
definite tropical edge out of this one, and it is refreshing indeed.
The 2008 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Grigio is quite a mix, or both grapes and
places, though here again Monterey makes up a solid 50%. To 86% Pinot Grigio are added
French Colombard, Semillon, and tiny touches of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay. Outside
of Italy it is a marketing choice to call the wine Pinot Grigio instead of Pinot Gris, but based
on style, the name does apply. Cold fermented in tank, with no wood contact and no
malolactic fermentation, the result has a spicy, vanilla and fruit compote nose, with pear and
peach. Friendly and filling in the mouth, white pear and punchy lemon tickle the palate, with
sound minerality rounding the wine out into a smooth finish that leaves essences of candied
fruit. A good interplay between concentration and ripeness here.
The 2007 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Syrah has a full Central Coast appellation, 87%
Syrah with Petit Verdot, some Merlot and a touch of Petite Sirah. Winemaking was
characterized by extended maceration for maximum skin contact, full malolactic fermentation,
and a 12 month aging in French oak. This is a good cool climate Syrah, a deep ruby in color,
with aromatic notes of dark berries, violet, nutmeg and black pepper. The palate brings
excellent concentrated brambly black fruit mixed with sweet oak and solid spice. Balanced at
every stage and supple in mouthfeel, the wine finishes by reminding you that yes, it does
have tannins, just enough in this case.