This is the last bottle of D’s wine cabal that he got me for the holidays. To think, all this time, I’ve been sipping this wine everytime F and I go to Lone Star, because Mondavi is their house wine. It’s no secret I’m a merlot mama, but I think Mondavi’s merlot is a bit too strong, even for the likes of me. I’d been drinking the cab with F, because she really likes it as well, and it’s more flavorful. It will still mess me up, yes, but I don’t have a splitting headache after the fact, a symptom that the merlot varietal provides me with the few times I’ve had it. I much prefer the cabernet of the two Mondavi wines I’ve had in the past few months. D got me this one so I had a new one to try and review.
When I uncorked the bottle, I got a noseful of berry smell with some spice undertones. One hour later, that bouquet was matched by sublime tastes of blackberry, plum, and cassis. I’ve been running into this combo quite a bit recently,more specifically, in the Meritage that D picked up for me a few weeks back. The wine packs a punch, but not so bad that you’re channeling George Frazier on the ropes or wondering why Dennis Rodman is allowed into South Korea. Once the aerating has been completed, the taste is smooth, mellow, incredibly well balanced. It’s not super fine wine, meaning there are far better cabs out there to be had (if you want one stronger and more blackberry and currant based, try Columbia Crest. That will fuck your shit up, and it’s probably the best one I’ve had. Matt N would agree, that’s probably his all time favorite. Sterling Vineyard also has a good one, and Beaulieu does as well. All are heads up on this one). I guess it comes down to this- if you like cab that will mellow you out and leave you with a pleasant flavor and no headache, this is the best choice. If you like a cab with more punch and fruit flavor, try one of the three I listed above.
Overall, it works well with beef, ribs, steak. It does NOT work well with spinach salad and tuna, which is what I tried it with at home. Do not do this! I had some dark chocolate with the glass, and THAT did work! I had this with some gluten free pasta and it worked out nicely. There’s some great flavor here, it’s just not full force cabernet. I tend to run on the wilder side of the fence and like the spicier, robust cab. This is for those who like to sip slowly and savor their wine and enjoy, without the unpleasant effects that may accompany an aftertaste. I like it well enough, but it’s not in my top 5 list, more like my top 10 list. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy it, I did. I just didn’t enjoy it to lights out status, and some days that’s what I’m aiming for. It’s a smooth balanced cabernet, very flavorful, and works well with red meat. It retails for around $10 normally, but again, it depends where you purchase it.