Robert Mondavi Private Selection Cabernet Sauvignon Central Coast 2010, $11:The Mondavi properties, labels, etc. have been in the hands of Constellation since the pioneering Mondavi family had to dissolve and sell their empire in 2004. This is the value-priced line from coastal vineyards — “Private Selection.” It started out as a Central Coast appellation wine — Santa Lucia Highlands and Paso Robles — and morphed to “California” appellation to guarantee sourcing of the grapes. But there’s breaking news: Constellation has rededicated the line to the Central Coast appellation and upgraded the labels and my, oh, my: What a delicious Cabernet! It’s got the authentic flavor of cassis — think tiny black currants — and blackberries, tiny red wild berries, dark plums and spice. On the palate, it has that artisan touch of distinct, even a bit restrained, fruit flavors (not sweet) framed in supple tannins and acidity. It has velvet-smooth texture and good length. It’s 88 percent Cabernet Sauvignon filled out with Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. It’s a sipping wine you can afford to pour for your snooty relatives.
The new packaging is quite appealing, especially with the “RM” stamp and the Mission bell tower of the Mondavi Winery. The new labels personalize the wines in a salute to Bob Mondavi.