Mondavi, the very name is iconic in the American wine industry. From Woodbridge to the Napa Valley collection people associate Robert Mondavi with good wine for a reasonable price. However, many casual wine drinkers don’t recognize the other side of the family, Robert’s brother Peter and the Charles Krug Winery, the brothers relationship was competitive and contentious throughout many decades, splitting the family along recognition and philosophy, but in the end both sides stayed true to their respective tradition. Robert’s Woodbridge line is well known, well liked by many and despised by others, a counterpoint that shows off the different approach to making wine would be the CK Mondavi line from brother Peter’s winery.
The 2010 CK Mondavi Merlot is one example that highlights that difference. A blend of numerous grapes dominated by 84% Merlot this has a deep purple color with a reddish tint at the edge in the glass; not a visual, stare deeply through the glass wine in my book. Instead I recommend moving quickly to a swirl and sniff of the plummy aroma that forms the foundation of this Merlot. Plum fruit continues to dominate the palate, with a slight touch of cherry and coffee creeping in at the end; more noticeable is the spicy note and rounded tannins on the finish. Medium to light weight in the mouth the overwhelming sensation is softness, not from malolactic fermentation, but from the oak aging and desire to make a wine that is more than a glob of fruit in the mouth. Walking the fine line between fruity and fruit driven this wine is sure to appeal to a variety of palates and would be a great choice for any event you may be hosting, hint, Super Bowl.
With a party in mind look for the 1.5L bottles, the 750ml will run between $6 to $9 around town, I recently paid $7 at my local Publix, not bad, but the larger size is a much better buy for your money and if it not consumed the day of the event will keep a couple of days when kept resealed. On the fourth day after opening I finished my bottle and found it a bit off putting, so you might not want to go that far out. In the end the 2010 CK Mondavi Merlot is a stylish, if not complex wine and will join my list of recommended favorites.