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WINE NOTES

The Fine Print

March 28, 1991|DAN BERGER | TIMES WINE WRITER

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms--the division of the Treasury Department that regulates the alcoholic beverage industries--has approved a revised version of the Mondavi Mission Statement for the back of wine bottles.

For the last three years, the Robert Mondavi Winery's back label has borne this message: "Wine has been with us since the beginning of civilization. It is the temperate, civilized, sacred, romantic mealtime beverage recommended in the Bible. Wine has been praised for centuries by statesmen, philosophers, poets and scholars. Wine in moderation is an integral part of our culture, heritage and the gracious way of life."

Other wineries have picked up the message and used it on their back labels, especially since the government began requiring a warning label on the back of wine bottles in November, 1989.

Last November, BATF said it had received a complaint about the Mondavi Mission statement from an unnamed source and that it had withdrawn approval for the statement. Mondavi submitted a revised version of the statement. It was approved earlier this month, the winery said.

The statement now reads: "Wine has been with us since the beginning of civilization. It is a temperate, civilized, romantic mealtime beverage. Wine has been praised for centuries by statesmen, philosophers, poets and scholars. Wine in moderation is an integral part of our family's culture, heritage and the gracious way of life."

The word sacred and the phrase "recommended in the Bible" have been excised and the word family's inserted near the end.

Wine of the Week

1989 Carneros Creek "Fleur de Carneros" Pinot Noir ($9) --Strikingly fine Pinot Noir that nearly fits the description of what the variety is supposed to be. An aroma of black cherries and raspberries with a persistent flavor of fruit in the mouth. The wine seems more expansive with decanting. It is a great value, equal to many Pinots selling for twice the price.

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