February is American Heart Month, so what better time to try Purple Heart Red Wine? Purple Heart Wines is a project to help veterans through the Purple Heart Foundation. The brand was started by C. Mondavi & Family (the Mondavi family branch that owns Charles Krug) in collaboration with winemaker Ray Coursen, founding winemaker and owner of Elyse Winery in the Napa Valley. The first vintage of the merlot-based Napa Valley wine was 2013. With this 2014 vintage, consulting winemaker David Grega joined the team.
The cause is a heartfelt one for those involved. The late Peter Mondavi Sr., patriarch of the Mondavi family, was a World War II veteran. Coursen is a veteran of Vietnam, and Grega served in Iraq. The brand makes an annual donation to the Purple Heart Foundation, which supports programs focusing on post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury and helps veterans with job training, service dogs and the like.
The 2014 Purple Heart Red – which is 80 percent merlot, with smaller amounts of cabernet sauvignon, petite sirah and petit verdot — displays bright cherry fruit, some spicy notes and medium tannins. It’s an easy-to-drink, middle-of-the-road red, and the price is right — $20.