mondavi private selection cabHistoric Robert Mondavi Winery, long noted for its vision of premium Napa wines, also makes the cheap stuff. And its very good for the price. In our survey of four budget Cabs, it’s the runner up easily beating out Rex Goliath and Barefoot.

Aromas of simple black cherry with hints of toast and vanilla against a vaguely earthy background are standard, but in the mouth crisp acidity is nicely balanced with chocolate infused fruit. Gently assertive, medium-grain tannins and a mineral seam give the wine a richness that is sometimes hard to find on the supermarket bottom shelf.

This is easy drinking but finishes dry and vivacious; highly recommended in the $10 and under category.

(FYI: This is neither  the bourbon-barrel aged Cabernet nor the Central Coast Cab, both also sold under the Private Selection label)

Score: 87

Price: $10

Alc: 13.5%

The spunky, brisk Dexterity by Charlie Parker brings out the smooth, chocolate-covered cherry dimension of this wine: