Deep ruby color; plum, cinnamon, redcurrant on faint nose; red and black cherries, plum, blackberry, plum, redcurrant, strawberry candy on the palate.
Dry (2.8 g/L RS); good acidity for a rich red (3.48 pH); smooth tannins. Very smooth, easy drinker, as you would anticipate with a blend of 80% merlot, 15% cabernet sauvignon, 4% petite sirah, 1% petit verdot. There is enough merlot in this to label it merlot, but the maker chose generic “red wine,” an illustration of how the market has turned from varietals to Bordeaux-style blends.
Purple Heart Wine is a brand of C. Mondavi & Family and employs grapes from the C. Mondavi vineyards in the Napa Valley–Yountville AVA. Mondavi presented a $10,000 check to the Purple Heart Foundation at the brand launch in 2016 (with a 2013 vintage). They pledge to make annual donations of up to $50,000. The 2014 vintage is the second year of production.
Ray Coursen, a Vietnam War veteran and 30-plus year Napa winemaking veteran, including founding of Rutherford’s Elyse Winery, was the winemaker for this effort. John Moynier—another veteran—took over the winemaking duties at Purple Heart in 2017; Moynier has worked at C. Mondavi & Family since 1985.
The Purple Heart Foundation has been dedicated to serving the unmet needs of military men, women, and families for more than 60 years. Each year, the foundation helped more than 19,000 veterans obtain VA benefits and such programs as service dogs, educational scholarships, and resources to help veterans cope with post traumatic stress disorder.
Purple Heart Napa Valley Red Wine 2014 is very drinker-friendly, merlot-soft effort that also contributes to a worthwhile cause. Pair with rib-eye steak, lamb burgers, meatloaf, beef stew, pasta with tomato-based sauces. $19-20