Two Nights Two Pinots

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Coincidentally, or perhaps not, I managed to pluck the same wine from two different vintages two nights in a row from my basement. Let’s just say the Pinot Noir called my name this winter and the two Rodney Strong ones that were lurking (that sounds ominous, I promise it’s not) in my cellar got caught up in a few day Pinot fury. Had I actually realized I had both of them down there, I would have done a side-by-side comparison. On night one we tried the 2010 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. More on night two’s wine, the 2012, another day. The 2010 had a real cork closure and likely retailed for about $25 originally.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Overflowing on the nose with red, red fruit.

2.) Pair with a roaring fire and a cozy couch.

3.) Or with an herbed, roast chicken. That would work as well.

4.) Once again, Rodney Strong comes through with a solid offering for a great price point.

On the nose I found raspberries, red cherries, spice, mint, herbs, and sage. (Yes, I’m well aware that sage and mint are herbs, but there were more than just those there, more of an overall herbal note.) In the mouth I got pomegranate, raspberries, spice, and other red fruit. Overall the wine has acidity to spare and a long finish.



Cold Winter’s Night

Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong.

Cold has settled into the DC area. Most days it’s been 13 degrees or under when I leave for work and the same when I return. Standing on an outside platform to catch the Metro is extremely unpleasant, and I come home chilled to the bone. On one of those nights, I bundled up for a trip to the basement and returned with the 2010 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. It seemed like an excellent choice to counteract the weather. The wine has a real cork closure, clocks in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, and retails for $28.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) On the cold cold night, this wine warmed my soul.

2.) Rodney Strong is an incredibly consistent producer.

3.) This Cab offered lip-smacking black and blue fruit.

4.) I will get to Rodney Strong on my next Northern CA trip. Now to work on having that trip!

On the nose, I found the Alexander Cab to be quite spicy, with pepper, herbs, a slight green note, black berries, and other blue fruit.  In the mouth I got blueberry, brambly fruit, black fruit, spice, and pepper. The wine had nice tannins and mouth-filling fruit.


To a Treat


*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards

As I am well into my second week of the furlough, I figured it was time for a treat in my wine-drinking queue.  I can’t always look for the cheap and cheerful wines, it kills your will to taste lots of not so great wines in search of a single gem all the time.  Instead, I bustled around in the basement looking for something opulent and sure to please and came back up with the  2007 Rodney Strong Symmetry.  The Symmetry is a Meritage blend with a real cork closure, 15.1% alcohol by volume, and a retail price of about $50.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) Opulent is really the proper word for this wine: it’s luxurious and rich in all aspects.

2.) $50 may seem a little pricey, especially these days, but I think you get quite a bit for that money in this bottle of wine, it’s enticing and layered and tastes much more expensive.

3.) Rodney Strong is generally so consistent to me as a producer that I never hesitate to recommend their wines.

4.) I’m still not sure how I’ve never actually made it to the actual Rodney Strong facility in all these years.

Right from the off you just look at this wine and observe how incredibly dark the juice appears.  In fact, my notes say “dark dark dark.” In the mouth I found dark chocolate, dried cherries, mulberry, spice, black cherry, and currants.  On the palate got herbs, spice, pepper, anise, coffee, blackberry, and black currants.  The wine had a long finish with good tannins and needed some time in the glass to really open up. Do yourself a favor and run it through the decanter (or your Wine Soiree!) if you pop open this bottle soon.



2010 Rodney Strong Chalk HIll Chardonnay

The fifth wine I’m speed dating with is the 2010 Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay, a very familiar wine for me. We drink a lot of wine from Rodney Strong at our house!  The nose is toasted with some caramel undertones and yellow apple and pear. In the mouth it’s very smooth on the palate, with well rounded fruit, yellow apple, pear, and almost a hint of peach.

At $20, the Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay always offers a consistent value. Would be great to drink with grilled scallops.

Rock This Way

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong.

Although our weather is still oddly behaving as if it’s spring rather than winter, I’m getting in the big red wines while I still am in the winter mindset!  We have had a few random colds days here and there, and that’s when we busted open the 2007 Rodney Strong Rockaway, a Cabernet Sauvignon. The Rockaway clocks in at 15.2% alcohol by volume, has a real cork closure, and retails fro $75.

Four takeaways from this wine:

1.) I served the wine with herb roasted chicken. I’d suggest something with a little more fat to stand up to the wine.

2.) The wine is a nose and mouthful of blackberry juicy goodness with a side of chocolate and espresso.

3.) With Valentine’s Day coming up, pair this wine with a steak and a chocolate torte for a great evening.

4.) The Rockaway comes in one hefty bottle.

On the nose I found juicy blackberry, black currant, pepper, chocolate, espresso, and a little note of campfire.  In the mouth I got black cherry, blackberry, chocolate, black currant, earth, and more black fruit.  A dark fruit wine with lots of juicy notes complemented by earth, spice, and chocolate, serve it with your next steak dinner.


Another Pinot. But Not Chilean.

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from the winery.

Back to one of my favorite areas to get Pinot Noir from, the Russian River Valley. The Russian River Valley is where I fell for Pinot Noir, hard. Now, I love it in many of its incarnations, however, time and again I come back to the Russian River to seek out the Pinot Noirs. Tonight we tried the 2009 Rodney Strong Russian River Valley Pinot Noir which clocked in at 14.5% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for about $20. Sorry for the lack of pictures lately, I lost a lot of photos when I killed my computer by dumping wine on it…

1.) Think Thanksgiving. This is a crowd-pleaser of a wine.

2.) Rodney Strong consistently impresses with the value for the price point.

3.) I loved the nose on the Pinot Noir.

4.) I would think this wine would retail for quite a bit more than it does.

On the nose I got smoke, campfire, caramel, earth, herbs, strawberry, and raspberry.  In the mouth I found tart fruit, raspberry, cherry, strawberry, flowers, earth, and a bit of the smoke from the nose. The wine had great structure and acidity and displayed the red fruit and earthiness I’ve come to love from the Russian River Valley.



Playing in My Spice Rack

*Disclaimer: I received this wine as a sample from Rodney Strong Vineyards

Baking spices peppered the nose of this wine, causing thoughts of Christmas cookies to dance in my head. We just started in on the HOT weather here and I’m already dreaming of Christmas. Though can you blame me? Christmas will be extra special at our house this year with our daughter’s first birthday to celebrate at the same time! What wine am I talking about? The 2007 Rodney Strong Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. It clocked in at 14.4% alcohol by volume, had a real cork closure, and retails for about $20.

On the nose I got woody note, cinnamon, baking spice, vanilla, dark fruit, blackberry, black plum, and black cherry. This smelled so much to me like baking cookies that it almost made me want to fire up my oven in the heat. Almost. In the mouth I found blackberry, black plum, black cherry, pepper, baking spice, anise, and cinnamon. The wine had nice tannins and good acidity and was quite spicy, which was very yummy.


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