Solaire by Robert Mondavi
Solaire by Robert Mondavi

We had a little bit of warm weather and I’m ready for summer. So I pulled out a new release that looked like it would be a good summer wine. Solaire by Robert Mondavi just introduced a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Central Coast earlier this year. Mondavi was a pioneer in the Napa Valley, but in the early 1990s he started looking at California’s Central Coast region, which has the weather and topography to produce great wines.
After tasting the Cabernet, I’d say he was right on the money. The Central Coast has been “discovered” now, but when Mondavi was planting his vineyards, few people expected this kind of wine. It’s a powerful, yet smooth, lush wine that doesn’t explode in your mouth so much as it just overwhelms you with warmth.
It has an inky, deep red color in the glass, with blackberry and plum aromas and flavors. It started out closed, so I’d recommend letting it breathe for at least 15 minutes before drinking. I had it Thursday night with lasagna and Friday night with chicken strips and French fries. It was wonderful with both. The wine had opened up a great deal by Friday and was ready to drink when I poured it. Oak aging gives the wine real backbone. The tannins come through, making me think this wine will get better in the cellar for another 5 or 6 years at least. I can’t wait to try it with burgers and ribs on the grill.
From: California Central Coast
Winery: Solaire by Robert Mondavi
Price: $17
Year: 2006
Wine nerd details: The wine is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Syrah, 3% Malbec, 2% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. The grapes come from Paso Robles (57%), Monterey County (30%) and San Benito County (13%). Malolactic fermentation gives it more smoothness and depth. The wine was aged in a mixture of new and used French and American oak barrels.
 Solaire by Robert Mondavi

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