Although this is peak season for roses, sauvignon blanc, and a picnic basket at the beach, look for these serious red wines, too.
One definitely has the flavor of history. Robert Mondavi was a pivotal figure in the history of winemaking in California. His namesake winery opened 50 years ago and has been among the top Napa Valley producers for most of them. The winery now is owned by Constellation Brands.
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the winery, it has produced a commemorative wine, the 2013 Maestro ($50), a red blend that’s made of mostly merlot, a quarter cabernet franc, and single digits of cabernet sauvignon, petit verdot, and malbec. The result is a very satisfying suggestion of Bordeaux, with a haul of dark fruit, plus some spice and herbs. It’s a standout partner for red meat.
The name stems from the opening of Mondavi’s To Kalon cellar in 2000. Mondavi commissioned an original work of music for the event. When the orchestra began to play, Mondavi himself began conducting it.
Equally artful is the 2010 Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi CastelGiocondo Brunello di Montalcino ($69), an elegant, delightful sangiovese, full of dark cherry, ripe plum, and notes of spice. The Tuscan is a match for steaks, lamb chops, grilled chicken and a meaty pasta alla Bolognese. You’ll enjoy it with eggplant or chicken alla Parmigiana, too.
And the 2013 Dry Creek Vineyards Endeavour Cabernet Sauvignon ($70) uncorks both concentrated and refined, with suggestions of black cherry and plum. Expect it to age well. When you’re ready to drink it, have rack of lamb, rib-eye steak, osso buco, game, or aged cheeses on the menu.