Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Robert Mondavi Private Selection Coastal Crush Red

  • Follow Applause

COST: $10-12

WHAT: The Coastal Crush Red is a new entry in the Robert Mondavi Private Selection line, and to my taste it’s one of the best. The wine is bright and fresh, full of raspberry and strawberry flavors, a perfect spring wine.

The wine smells big and fruity right out of the bottle, filling the room with its aroma when you pour a glass. The deep ruby color adds to the sensual enjoyment. The flavors fill your mouth with bold, juicy fruit and a touch of chocolate and spice. The finish isn’t long, but it is satisfying.

This easy-drinking wine is good sharing with all your friends, those who know about wine and those who aren’t sure they even like wine. It is smooth, mellow and versatile.

The blend of 67 percent Syrah, 24 percent Merlot and 9 percent Malbec comes from Monterey County, San Benito County, Paso Robles and Valley South. The Central Coast appellation allows Mondavi to find the best vineyards in this wide-ranging area that has produced wonderful wines in recent years.

After fermentation, the wine was kept on the skins for an additional 12 days to soften the tannins and develop complexity in the flavor. The wine also underwent malolactic fermentation to make it rounder and deeper. It was then aged 10 months in American and French oak.

This is the second time I’ve tried this wine in the past six months. I had it in the fall as part of a virtual tasting when I was visiting Kiawah Island during the Earl Klugh Jazz Festival. I loved it then, but I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just the seductive atmosphere of the jazz festival that made the wine seem better.

If anything, it was even better at home with dinner. It amazes me you can find a wine this good and complex at this low a price.

WINERY: The late Robert Mondavi was a true pioneer in the California wine industry. He built the first modern winery in Napa after Prohibition in 1966, and it is still one of the best places to get a winery tour.

Mondavi had a basic faith that he could grow world-class grapes in Napa and that he could produce wine that would blend with a gracious lifestyle that included food and art.

The Private Selection wines were introduced in 1994, primarily featuring California’s north and central coast grapes at a moderate price. Private Selection varietals include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Meritage, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Riesling, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah.

GOES WITH: I know the traditional wisdom is to have white wine with chicken, but I like red wine, and the Coastal Crush is light enough to be a perfect match for roast chicken. My wife, Teri, and I loved the way the fresh, fruity flavor of the wine enhanced the flavor of the chicken.

The wine also would go well with a wide variety of foods from steak and burgers to turkey, cheese and salads. It should be popular during summer grilling season.

WINE EVENTS

THURSDAY, MAY 9

Wine and tapas tasting, 5-6:30 p.m., La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $19.99; (706) 722-4805

FRIDAY, MAY 10

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 6-8 p.m., Evans Towne Market, 4460 Washington Road, Evans; several wines, cheese and crackers and live music most Fridays; $5; (706) 303-8591

SATURDAY, MAY 11

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; (706) 922-9463

THURSDAY, MAY 16

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites and three reds and several cheeses; $5 with rebate on purchase of a bottle of featured wine; (803) 279-9522

FRIDAY, MAY 17

Wine tasting, 7-9 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; wines of Portugal and Spain, $15 prepaid, $20 at the door if space available; (803) 279-9522


Top headlines

'Do not swim' order remains in effect for Savannah River

A "do not swim" order for the Savannah River will reamin in effect while officials await lab results of an oily substance found in its waters Sunday.
Search Augusta jobs