Fruit flavors of Coastal Crush Red perfect for a summer drink.
Fruit flavors of Coastal Crush Red perfect for a summer drink.

Robert Mondavi Private Selection Coastal Crush Red 2011, Central Coast

Cost: $10-12

What: This 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.

Mondavi Coastal Crush Red.
Mondavi Coastal Crush Red.

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% Syrah, 24% Merlot and 9% 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 which has produced some 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.

The Woodbridge label is the winery’s entry point offering and Robert Mondavi Winery produces the top level wines.

This is one red wine that pairs perfectly with roast chicken.
This is one red wine that pairs perfectly with roast chicken.

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.

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