There are few names as synonymous with California wine as that of Robert Mondavi. Over the years, in addition to his namesake Napa Valley Winery, numerous subsidiaries became part of the Mondavi empire. The Private Selection wines are one of those off shoots. These wines tend to have a suggested retail just above $10 and can provide a gateway for people at the beginning of their wine exploration, as well as everyday value for more seasoned wine drinkers. Today I'll look at their current release Meritage and see what it offers. The 2006 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Meritage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (72%), Merlot (10%), Petit Verdot (10%), and Malbec (8%). The majority of the fruit was sourced in Monterey County (66%), with the balance coming from Santa Barbara (25%), and San Benito (9%). This wine was aged in oak for 15 months, with 30% of it being new. The suggested retail price for this offering is $11.
The nose of this Meritage is comprised of dark berry fruit notes. Black cherry and plum dominate. Throughout the palate, those dark fruit tones continue, along with vanilla, black pepper, and some hints of cedar. This wine has firm, chewy tannins and good acidity. Some earth emerges on the finish along with more dark fruit and spice notes. This wine will be an excellent match for grilled chops, a burger, or strong cheeses.
The question when I taste a wine of this nature, what am I expecting for $11? I hope for a wine that is well made, true to it's varietal compostion and hopefully somewhat interesting. This low priced Meritage from Robert Mondavi Private Selection, fits the bill. It has sufficient structure to drink well for a couple of years, tastes true to being mostly Cabernet Sauvignon, and has enough length and interesting elements to make it worth it's price-tag. Truth be told it's often available for under $1o. For that amount of money, you won't mind opening it any night of the week.