The last time I wrote about Sonoma’s Rodney Strong Vineyards was when a winery representative came to Los Angeles and met with our #LAWineWriters group over lunch in Marina Del Rey. At that time we sampled their Rose of Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc that can easily be found in local stores, but then moved onto wines I hadn’t tried before from different Rodney Strong collections. You can read all about those here.
Today I’m sharing my latest review of their 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. Below my tasting notes is the technical sheet that arrived with my sample:
First let me say that I shared the wine, after I had made my notes without interruption, with a white-wine loving friend. She simply could not stop praising it. After we had finished it and I was cleaning up she made me retrieve the bottle from my recycling bin so she could take a photo of the label. Usually a guest that prefers white moves slowly to red, maybe with a lighter in body wine like a Pinot Noir, but this gal is now not a newly minted red wine lover. Nope, she is a newly minted Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon lover. Now, onto my tasting notes.
Color: from a deep garnet to a light mahogany, for some reason the color reminded me of a perfect-colored lipstick I wish I was wearing.
Aroma: Dark red cherry and plum fruits, rich earth, cracked black peppercorn, sweet pipe tobacco and a finely crafted milk chocolate candy bar.
Flavor: Upon the first splash I noted both a velvety texture and a spiciness. From there I got ripe black fruit, peppered red jam, mushrooms, a mouth-coating viscosity and liveliness. Finished with firm tannins, which allowed for a very long finish.
Pairing: We enjoyed the wine with a Bolognese made by my husband Eddie. The mushrooms and meat in the sauce paired extremely well with the fruit, spice and tannins in the wine. There was not a drop of wine left. 95 Eve Points.
Appellation: 79% Sonoma County, 21% Alexander Valley
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Cellar & Fermentation: 24 months in French oak barrels, 75% new
The 2018 winter was much drier than usual but this vintage will be most remembered for its cool summer temperatures and lack of heat spikes. Daily highs in July and August peaked at 85F but as the weather cooled and mist hung in the air, our decision to pick was delayed by almost four weeks past the previous year. This longer hang time resulted in larger yields and more complex flavors as we waited for the sugars to accumulate, with harvest taking place October 9-24.
For our 2018 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, select areas within each vineyard are hand harvested, fermented separately and aged in the finest French oak. Each lot is tasted and graded and only the best are considered. The blend is then assembled, and the wine is aged 24 months before bottling.
Rich, lush and structured, the 2018 vintage displays intense aromas of black currant, cassis and crushed violet. is wine is velvety with a smooth, lingering nish of herbal notes, vanilla and cocoa. Enjoy this wine now with a grilled porterhouse, rack of lamb, or a winter vegetable roast or lay a few bottles down in your cellar to enjoy in 4 to 6 years.
Our Reserve wines are the result of a careful blend of individual lots from meticulously farmed sections of some of the very best vineyards in Sonoma County. Created in our small lot Artisan Cellar, Winemaker Justin Seidenfeld employs techniques such as cluster pre-sorting and extended maceration. With small tanks and equipment sized for the most discriminating vineyard selection process, our cellar is state-of-the-art and represents the Klein family commitment to producing the finest wines possible.
About Rodney Strong Wine Estates
Rodney Strong Wine Estates (RSWE) is a family-owned wine company that includes Rodney Strong Vineyards, Davis Bynum Wines, Knotty Vines, Upshot Wines, and ROWEN Wine Company. Rodney Strong sustainably farms 11 estate vineyards and produces wines from Sonoma County’s finest appellations. The winery was founded in 1959 by Sonoma County pioneer Rod Strong as the 13th bonded winery in the county. For over 30 years, RSWE has flourished under the leadership of the Klein Family, 4th generation California farmers. The Klein family is committed to protecting and preserving the environment in both the vineyards and at the winery through sustainable and innovative practices. Rodney Strong Wine Estates is a family of passionate people committed to crafting premium wines, meaningful experiences, and sustainable leadership in Sonoma County. Learn more at RodneyStrong.com.
Eve Bushman has a Level Two Intermediate Certification from the Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), a “certification in the first globally-recognized course” as an American Wine Specialist ® from the North American Sommelier Association (NASA), Level 1 Sake Award from WSET, was the subject of a 60-minute Wine Immersion video (over 16k views), authored “Wine Etiquette for Everyone” and has served as a judge for the Proof Awards, Cellarmasters, LA Wine Competition, Long Beach Grand Cru and the Global Wine Awards. You can email Eve@EveWine101.com to ask a question about wine or spirits.