© Copyright 1998 by Robin Garr. All rights reserved.
Robert Mondavi Winery 1994 Bocce Rosso California Table Wine ($5.99)
It doesn't get much cheaper than this, and the label (based on the label design of a fruit crate used in Robert Mondavi's father's grape-shipping business in the 1930s) doesn't suggest a "serious" wine. But the wine in the bottle is much more interesting than you'd expect for the price. The label claim that the Bocce wines reflect Mediterranean roots and "capture the personality of the bright, bold wines of Northern Italy." Maybe so, but in any case, I'd choose them in an instant over the much more boring wines of the same maker's American-style Woodbridge line, which actually sells for a few dollars more.
This one's a very dark reddish-purple in color, showing grapey fruit and spicy oak aromas. There's so much ripe fruit in the flavor that it seems a bit soft at first, but it quickly dries out and develops a good structure with lemony acidity in the finish. Surprisingly Chianti-like, it's a very good value. (July 6, 1998)
FOOD MATCH: A good match with a lightly spicy gumbo-style concoction of fresh okra and tomatoes with a bit of leftover lamb.
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