Two Winners Available Everywhere

Esoteric little wines from unheard of boutiques are fun discoveries and a neat score.  But recommendations for them have limited applicability.  Real scores are those which are:
  • a) Priced right
  • b) Available in most markets
  • c) Universally-appealing
  • d) A tremendous value
In order to fit these criteria, a wine pretty much has to be produced by either a large winery or one owned by a large holding company.  It's natural to think that large = mediocre, and we've attempted to debunk that here before.  Here are two more examples of wines that meet the above standards.


2008 Robert Mondavi Chardonnay Napa $12 - Textbook CaliChard executed perfectly and at the right price.  Absolutely lovely.  Full flavored, balanced with subtle crisp acidity, and accompanied by generous malolactic complements -a bit of cream, a bit of oak, but not too much of either.  A surprisingly pleasurable drink.

2007 Beringer Cabernet Knights Valley $22 - Plump, rich, structured, and long. Drinking generously.  A modern California Cabernet with a few years on it now, and all signs point to it improving for some years to come.  Soooo happy to have a few more bottles left.  This is now two vintages from the current release, but those willing to search the rear of shelves will find some still out there.  But that's not the real point - this wine is holding up extremely well and remains relatively inexpensive (Gary's in NJ will sell it to you for under $16).  For that, we'll be sampling and stocking more of the 08/09, too. 

Original review of the 2007.
Original review of the 2005.