Robert Mondavi Private Selection Meritage 2010

Cost: $10-12

What: You really can’t go wrong with one of the Robert Mondavi wines. I almost hate to review this wine because so many people know about the Mondavi wines, but there are always newcomers who need to learn about them.

The Meritage is America’s answer to the classic Bordeaux blends that Robert Mondavi first experienced in 1962. It’s an amazingly rich, complex wine that is approachable and easy to drink.

Mondavi Private Selection Meritage

The wine starts with aromas of black cherries and plums, followed by blackberry and plum tastes. It has a smooth finish, with well-integrated tannins. It’s a nice, pleasant wine that you can feel comfortable opening for any occasion. At this price it’s a great all-purpose wine that you can have with a simple dinner or an elegant gathering.

The blend is 42 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 30 percent Merlot, 20 percent Malbec and 8 percent Petit Verdot. Some years Cabernet Franc also is added to the blend.

I would drink this wine within a year or two and not cellar it. It’s very good now, and probably won’t improve much with aging.

Winery: The Robert Mondavi Winery has been an icon in Napa Valley since 1966, when it was the first major winery in Napa Valley since Prohibition.

Robert Mondavi believed that the path to a more gracious lifestyle leads through the appreciation of wine, food and art. He believed that Napa Valley could be the center for that lifestyle, producing wines that belonged in the company of the great wines of the world, and wines that belonged at the family table.

His vision certainly proved true as people from around the world flock to Napa Valley to taste the wonderful wines, eat gourmet food and enjoy the beauty of the valley and its wineries.

Robert Mondavi Winery makes wine at several quality and price levels.

The Private Selection wines were introduced in 1994 to showcase the high quality and diversity of California’s north and central coast grapes at a moderate price. Private Selection varietals include Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Noir, Pinot Grigio, Sauvignon Blanc, Fume Blanc and Syrah.

Goes with: We had this with pizza and it was perfect. The wine complemented the food perfectly and didn’t get in the way of the flavors. The wine also would go well with burgers, steaks, lamb chops and veal, and a variety of cheeses. It’s a great house wine, for everyday dinners.

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