Try Californian ‘Private Selection’
Are you up for spending $20 on hosting your own one-evening wine course? Why not! I’ve found a great little gang of wines that will put a smile on your face while boosting your wine smarts. You’ll just need to round up four other like-minded folks to kick in their bucks and, with the kitty seek, out the wines below.
The wines you’re going to taste are from California by Robert Mondavi. They’re a shade pricey, but each one is a fine expression of the grape variety, and sometimes it’s worth spending a little to learn a lot.
As you may know, Mondavi recently passed the business on to his sons who, more recently, passed it on to Constellation Brands (recent purchasers of Inniskillin and Jackson-Triggs, too). It will be a few years before we see any change for better or worse in the wines, but I highly recommend you take advantage of the quality offered in the current vintage of the “Private Selection” line.
Start your tasting with the upbeat, refreshing Sauvignon Blanc, a classic apéritif wine to get things started. That’s what this grape is about. Next up should be the Chardonnay. Rich and glamorous, but not over the top. A platter of grilled shrimp would not be out of place at this stage.
Time for reds. Begin with the seductive Pinot Noir — a little fruity sweet, but a great wine for foods in a spicy sauce. Or just to sip. Pinot is often called the feminine red. Follow it with Merlot — plummy, silky and sexy. It’s a charmer — a lush! Out and out delish. Finally, meet manly Cabernet, a gutsy, slightly serious red for steak. I suggest a platter of grilled meats with this red trio.
I recommend you experience the wines on their own first, then with food later.
Billy Munnelly is author, wine critic and publisher of Billy’s Best Bottles Wineletter and Billy’s Best Wines For 2007, a guide to the best wines at the LCBO, available in bookstores or through www.billysbestbottles.com. Sign up for his free wine e-letter at www.billysbestbottles.com.