Living in California also means living close to wine country and having the privilege of tasting many extraordinary wines.
I recently discovered the Rodney Strong Wine Estates, based in Sonoma County which was started in 1959 by Rodney Strong and 30 years later purchased by the Klein family. Rodney Strong grows and produces wines exclusively from four of Sonoma County's respectable appellations -- Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill and Sonoma Coast.
I just tried the Alexander Valley 2013 which was produced during what would be called a good year: A dry, frost-free spring, a warm summer without heat spikes and a warm rain free autumn that allowed for picking mature grapes. Warm days and cool evenings prevailed in September which kept sugar accumulation at an even pace and left acidity in the fruit.
Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grown, marked by deep plum and blackberry and dark chocolate flavors, with abundant, supple tannin structure. The note of dried herbs, black pepper and minerality reflect the terroir. It is aged for 18 months in French Oak wooden barrels. For my taste, this wine is a bit too young and, as we can cellar it for the next four to six years, that is what I would choose to do.
SRP $28.00 Alcohol 14.5%
The second wine that I tried is the Knights Valley 2013, a 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Malbec.
Established 1983, Knights Valley is the eastern most appellation in Sonoma County, lying just north of Calistoga at the foot of Mount Saint Helena. Protected from the direct influence of the Pacific Ocean, Knights Valley is the warmest of Sonoma County’s viticultural areas.
This Cabernet is bursting with aromas of spicy dark plum and crushed blackberries with a hint of blueberry. The layers of spice and chocolate on the palate are framed in velvety tannins with a lingering finish. Perfect to accompany a plate of cheeses or a filet mignon. It can be cellared for the next 3 to 5 years.
I just loved this one. Anyone who appreciates any type of Bordeaux. A must try.
SRP $35.00 Alcohol 14.0%
For more information on Rodney Strong visit: www.rodneystrong.com