THE VINTNER: Robert Mondavi, California
COST : $10-12
WHAT: Year after year, this wine is a consistent winner. It is very fruit-forward, with light tanins and hints of oak from barrel aging. A nicely balanced wine, it doesn't overpower your palate, offering tastes of plum, blackberry, spices and sweet cherries. The oak makes me think it will get even better if you lay it down for a year or two, but at this price it will be hard to resist drinking it right away. It's a perfect wine for your Valentine's Day celebration, whether it's just the two of you or a whole party.
THE WINERY: Mondavi Private Selection wines were established in 1994, using grapes primarily from the central coast and north coast regions. The cabernet comes mostly from the warm, southern end of the Salinas Valley, which runs north to Monterrey.
GOES WITH: Great for red meat on the grill, from steaks to ribs, standing rib roasts, burgers or pasta and tomato sauce. We tried it with homemade vegetable and chicken fried rice and were pleased with the way it cut through the soy sauce. It would also go nicely with chocolate.
REACH DENNIS SODOMKA AT DSODOMKA@KNOLOGY.NET. READ HIS COLUMN ON THE WINES OF CHILE IN THE JANUARY ISSUE OF AUGUSTA MAGAZINE.
Wine fest, 4:30-6:30 p.m. Friday, 1-6 p.m. Saturday, Vineyard Wine Market
Spanish wine tasting, Wine World, 7 p.m.; nine wines and four tapas; $12 in advance, $15 at door
First Friday Tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, six wines, cheese sampling
Wine tasting and Valentine's celebration, 5:30-7:30 p.m., Ninth Street Wine Market
Tasters Guild dinner, Old Edgefield Grill, five courses, six wines, $68 members, $74 nonmembers; reservations required, through Wine World; (803) 279-9522
Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., The Snug Steak & Grill, 240 Davis Road; 6-8 p.m., $20; Toast Wine and Beverage will be the host, featuring syrah and shiraz from around the world, in addition to a blind tasting of white wines, and chocolates. Make reservations with The Snug by Feb. 9, (706) 863-1118.