Wine is a Friday night staple for my husband and I; it’s our signal to start the weekend off on the right foot. I also try to cook something a little more special, involved, or new to make Friday seem a little celebratory. I had set my sights on reworking an existing chicken recipe I’d tried in the past by serving it as a salad topping instead of a stand alone dish with starchy sides. I wanted a wine that would be fresh in it’s style but have some creaminess to it. I decided on a Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2012 Central Coast after weighing my options. I’ve had Robert Mondavi’s Chardonnay in the past; his higher end works being more “California” in style. I knew this wine would probably lean more to a “Chablis” style which is in character with chardonnay grown in the central coast. I wasn’t looking to spend more then $10 but I feel that $13 was a fair price for this wine. Certain wines have a habit of being a touch overpriced at my local liquor store so I am sure you can find this wine for a bit less.
I’d also like to add in that I grew up in California and have been exposed to Mondavi wines my entire life. I’m a fan of many of their offerings and the quality in which they bottle. I know that sounds silly, but there is a chance that sub par materials or handling in the bottling stage can ruin the wine. I’ve also had first hand exposure to the brand’s community involvement. Their La Famiglia line was my favorite when I was younger and even many years later my family still talks about it (especially the Moscato Bianco). My point is that knowing who is making your wine, how many people are employed or affected by its brand, and how charitable the brand is might make you willing to spend a bit more. Now to the important stuff, the juice!
Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2012 Central Coast comes in at 13.5% alcohol and I have no data on any residual sugars. I’m not 100% certain it’s all Chardonnay grapes in the wine. I know in the past this line has used very small percentages of other whites (less than 5%) for blending. I chilled the wine to its optimal temperature of 50 – 55 degrees. I will note that you don’t want to over chill a Chardonnay because it will make the wine seem lacking in flavor. I used a generic stemless white wine glass. My bottle was not in the greatest of shape, the label was torn in a few places but the foil and cork were intact. After the bottle was open there was a faint aroma of pineapple and cream that slowly filled up my kitchen. The color of this wine is a beautiful golden straw hue, liquid sunshine in the glass. I paired the wine with my Dijon Chicken and Chévre salad as well as tasted it alone. I also had a little bar of milk chocolate with hazelnuts planned for dessert.
The nose on this wine to me was bright pineapple, a hint of herbs, and full fat fresh ricotta cheese. My husband, however, said the wine smelled very peachy and he detected no pineapple at all. The nose is not harsh but it’s not soft either. It’s very fruity and hints at a good acid balance in the wine.
My first taste was full of peaches, nectarines, less pineapple than the aroma suggested, a hint of white pepper, and a very creamy lush taste right before the finish with just the slightest hint of vanilla. The mouthfeel was also very creamy and smooth. My husband got mostly peach, a hint of pineapple, and something smooth and creamy which he described as “fluffing sheets and blankets; you know how they gently fall through the air and settle on a bed?”. We both agreed the finish was medium in length and had a lingering velvety taste.
Drinking the wine with the food brought out the lemon and peach for both of us. My husband could now taste the pineapple clearly as well as the white pepper. The wine did a great job of cleansing the palette. The oak character was also bolder between bites of food. With our dessert, the wine was much more floral and creamy then it had been alone, giving us lots of orange blossom and vanilla.
This wine is very enjoyable and I will certainly purchase it again. I have a feeling this wine was aged on the lees, had some malolactic fermentation, and neutral oak aging but was mostly steel tank fermented. Don’t worry, this wine is more fruity than buttery or over-oaked. While it went quite well with what I made, I honestly think the best pairing for this wine would probably be Fettuccine Alfredo. The medium acidity and taste profile would also make it a great match for brie cheese and a picnic! On the standard Wine Spectator scale (100 being flawless) I give the Robert Mondavi Private Selection Chardonnay 2012 Central Coast a solid 88 points. Don’t worry, I will be posting my recipe that I paired it with so you can try it out for yourself and see if you agree!
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