At seven years of age, the Robert Mondavi Los Carneros Pinot Noir is showing very nicely, in my opinion. It was served at the Kalamazoo Tasters Guild wine dinner with the main course of grilled rack of lamb with herbed mashed potatoes and orange dilled carrots.
The wine shows a lot of Pinot earthiness at first, followed by a rush of fresh berries and bing cherries. Ripe flavors and then more Pinot earthiness. There is a touch of volatility that adds to the wine's complexity. The finish is long, slightly astringent and true to Pinot Noir varietal characteristics. Reminds me a lot of Louis Latour's Pinot Noir Valmoissine. It costs about twice as much, however.
A few nights later, I had a chance to taste the 2006 Robert Mondavi Private Selection Pinot Noir. This is a less expensive bottling (usually around $10 to $12) than the Los Carneros and comes from Central Coast fruit. It also has far less complexity and varietal character. This wine is much deeper in color with bright, reasonably deep cherry-oriented fruit but none of the earthiness, borderline volatility or other varietal traits that distinguish the Los Carneros. From a plastic glass at an outdoor table at Taste of Kalamazoo, it was a very enjoyable wine. And it would also work well at a dinner party where the focus is on conversation. If want a wine to ponder over, savor and enjoy with a specially prepared meal, I would prefer the Mondavi Los Carneros ($25)...or the Louis Latour Valmoissine ($12).