The 2011 Robert Mondavi Private Selection California Pinot Noir is 80% Pinot Noir, 12% Syrah, 7% Petite Sirah and 1% Thompson seedless (Thompson seedless is the most widely planted grape in California, these are the grapes you buy in the produce department and are made into those little boxes of raisins, they usually are used in wine to pad out a blend, but with just 1% used I am not sure of their purpose here) sourced mainly from vineyards in California’s Central Coast AVA. The 2011 vintage had one of the coolest growing seasons on record, which is good since Pinot Noir grapes need plenty of cool weather to reach their peak, the longer they take to ripen, the more complex they will be. The various lots of this wine were aged from 4 to 10 months in French and American oak barrels. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is a pale see-thru strawberry red with an almost clear halo. The nose is earthy and herbal, with a little cherry added in to the mushroom and barnyard. This is a medium to lightweight pinot with soft and creamy cherry flavors mixed with Pinot Noir funk. The mid-palate transitions to a little tart strawberry and dried raspberry. The tannins are soft and out of the way, the acidity is buried in the mix, but does reveal itself at the finish and powers the astringent cherry finish for quite some time.
When I saw that 19% of this Pinot Noir was Syrah and Petite Sirah, I figured this wine would have too much body to be anywhere close to an expensive Pinot Noir. But I was fooled, parts of this Pinot are very reminiscent of far more expensive Pinots, not all of it, just parts of it, but that is just fine for a Pinot Noir that sells slightly north of ten bucks. The 2011 Robert Mondavi Private Selection California Pinot Noir is a very solid everyday Pinot Noir, that drinks better than its price tag.