Wine of the Week
2007 Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Merlot ($23). Like many writers, I have fond memories of Robert Mondavi the man and of visits to his winery in the late 1970s and early 1980s when its - and his - reputation was in its ascendancy. And, like many writers, I am used to eponymous wineries falling off the quality bandwagon when the "brand" is purchased by a larger corporation. I'll admit I have not had an up close view to what has been going on at Robert Mondavi winery in recent years, but I continue to be impressed by the bottles I keep opening and their prices. And this wine is an excellent example of continuing quality and value at RMW. The 2007 Merlot, a complex wine that will get moreso, has lots of juicy blackberries and loads of tannins. This, I think, shows what Napa Valley can do with a Merlot, yet the price is very reasonable. It has 16 percent alcohol, but it doesn't come across to me as either too hot nor unbalanced. I would decant it for a couple of hours if drinking it now. The wine is certainly in the quality category of Merlots selling in the $40-$60 range. And for someone interested in collecting wines for aging, not just buying expensive trophies, it would be smart to purchase a couple of cases. You'll be richly rewarded in the years to come.