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Mondavi does summer
Pinot from Bob Mondavi's Private Selection ... mmm

It’s hard for me to not yada–yada Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. This week alone, I’ve had enthusiastic vineyard reps present me with tastes of at least 10 Pinot Grigios and about a half dozen Sauv Blancs. The wines ranged from across the globe: America, France, Italy, Australia and New Zealand.

Still, with our summer climate, it’s hard to overlook the clean flavors, beautiful aromas and refreshing experience these two varietals bring to a sweltering day. However, a pair from Robert Mondavi Private Selection label stood out.

The 2010 Pinot Grigio was the perfect companion to share over a business lunch earlier this week. Wine maker Rick Boyer scoured cool vineyards of California’s Central Coast –– Santa Barbara, Monterey and San Bonito counties –– to find grapes that deliver fresh fruit aroma and crisp flavors of this Pinot Grigio.

Ripe, juicy pears, vanilla and peach fill the nose and are a pleasing introduction to this wine. Take a sip and the fresh fruit smells become flavors that refresh and then finish clean and crisp. It’s a great solo sip, but also pairs beautifully with shellfish –– and it was a winner against the tomatoes, cucumber and Gorgonzola cheese in my bread salad.

For real fans of Sauv Blanc, this 2010 release is a classic. Lemon/lime flavors, grassiness and puckering acid are the hallmarks of this mouth–watering wine.

Grapes came fro the same region and again Boyer has coaxed every nuance from the harvest. Careful not to over chill this wine –– its complexity stands proud at around 45 degrees. Colder and its rich variety and complexity get crushed.

Talking with a wine maker friend last week, I was reminded that wine truly is best when served with food –– and this wine is no exception. It’s a winner with foods ranging from crab salad or calamari to roasted chicken.

Even better news: Suggested retail is $11 –– you should be able to find the wines at $15 or less.