Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wine Blogging Wednesday #57: California Inspiration

Today is Wine Blogging Wednesday #57, the online tasting note started by Lenn Thompson of Lenndevours and hosted this month by Jeff Lefevere of Good Grape. This month Jeff asked us to "revisit a California wine that they have enjoyed, or have a particular fond memory of, and tell a story."

I chose the 2006 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon from the Napa Valley. There were two reasons I chose this bottle (in addition to the fact that Jeff's theme was timed to honor Robert Mondavi, who died a year ago). First, my first serious experience with wine was in the Napa Valley on Larkmead Lane, walking in vineyards and climbing wind towers. Though I now drink more widely and am often priced out of the Napa wine market, it is always a treat to taste a wine that reminds me of this special place. Last summer, I met Margrit Mondavi for the first time at Taste3 and experienced some Mondavi hospitality first-hand. It was a treat to visit the vineyard and explore the barrel room. (photo of flags flying over the Robert Mondavi vineyard).

The second reason I chose this wine is because it's a wine that I buy and enjoy regularly. Sometimes, I drink them right away. Some times I cellar them--like the last bottles I have from the 2003 vintage that I'm still sitting on and which I purchased for $16.99 back in February 2006. No matter whether I drink them young or with some age on them, this wine always represents excellent QPR in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This current release has a suggested retail of $28, for example, but you can find it for between $18 and $25 in most parts of the country. While you can spend more on Napa Cabs, I find that this wine gives me everything I'm looking for in a wine from this region at a more affordable price.

The 2006 Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley had slightly medicinal cherry, green pepper, herb, and currant aromas--all classic for the grape. There was bright cassis fruit, and a slightly licorice aftertaste. The flavors were complex, and there was a deft handling of oak which gave the wine spicy richness without being heavy or clumsy. In my opinion, this is still too young to show to its best advantage, so either decant it or buy a few bottles and put them away to drink over the next 3-5 years. And one of the things to look forward to if you buy a bottle of this wine is that it will be even better with food--pot roast, stew, steak, and roast beef are just some of the dishes that I've had with Robert Mondavi Cabernet.

Thanks to Jeff for a theme that should generate a lot of wonderful posts.

Full Disclosure: I received this wine as a sample.


Sonadora said...

The label on the Mondavi wines is iconic...I remember it from around the time I first started drinking wine as I always associated it with something I could buy that would be a good value on my woefully small budget!

Stacey said...

I love cab... thanks for the review!

Dr. Debs said...

Thanks for the comments, Sonadora and Stacey. I know just what you mean, Sonadora. I just see this label and it reminds me of the beginnings of my wine journey!