For a long time now the Rodney Strong brand has stood for value regularly over delivering in their price category. Whether it’s their entry $18 Cabernet or their single-vineyard, allocated Rockaway bottling, when you see Rodney Strong on the label you can be assured you will get some thing interesting in the glass. The house style is to create round and harmonious wines with loads of sweet fruit surrounded by toasty French oak.
Their “Symmetry” Meritage is a Cabernet Sauvignon led wine that could have been labeled as this variety since it makes up 85% of the blend. But the winemaking team is aiming higher here producing a Bordeaux style blend from several vineyard sources in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The addition of traditional blending grapes Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot adds to the complexity in the aromas and flavors, elevating what would be a very nice Cabernet to another level. My only concern was the rather generous French oak treatment which will likely work itself out with further aging.
Rodney Strong, “Symmetry”, Meritage Red Wine, Alexander Valley 2007 ($55/sample) – A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 3% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. Very deep purple in color with complex aromas of blackberry, blackcurrant, cigar box, sage and black licorice. Bold and rich blackcurrant and blackberry flavors with cassis and black pepper finishing with toasty oak and firm tannins. Decant for 2-3 hours now or put in the cellar for 5-7 years. Delicious, if a bit over-oaked, at this point but I expect this to integrate as it ages.
Natural cork closure
Buy this wine online
For the first time since I started participating in Wine Blogging Wednesday, I will not be able to produce a podcast due to scheduling conflicts and other complications. I’m also posting a bit on the late side, as well, so I hope that my entry will be included in the roundup over at the Corkdork who is hosting this month.
This month the theme is Red Kiwis, or red wines made in New Zealand. Most of us are well aware of to the benchmark Sauvignon Blancs coming from this region, but reds are less likely seen in the stores or at tastings. Back on WBW 14, I tasted a very nice Kim Crawford Pinot Noir that demonstrated that cold climate reds could succeed, but I wanted to find something a bit more off the beaten path for this outing. So when I saw a Meritage-style blend from New Zealand, I was intrigued. My wine for this month is from Unison Vineyard, as small winery in the Gimblett Gravels Winegrowing District of Hawke’s Bay. Run by a husband and wife team, they produce only red and rose wines made from Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Drawing from previous experience from Tuscany, they also produce balsamic vinegar and olive oil. So without further ado, here are my tasting notes:
Unison Vineyard, Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand 2002 ($25) – An intriguing blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. Very deep garnet in color with complex black cherry, earth and spice aromas that set-up a smooth and silky marriage of blackberry, plum, bell pepper and mint flavors. A long finish and dusty tannins complete the package nicely. Might benefit from additional cellaring over the next 3-5 years. A fine blend that shows great promise for this producer and the region in general for Bordeaux inspired blends. Score: 8.5/10
I’ll hopefully be back to my podcasting ways next month for my one year anniversary as a participant in this event…
Peter Lehmann, “Clancy’s”, Barossa, 2002 ($16) – A blend of 54% Shiraz, 29% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Garnet color, bell pepper and eucalyptus aromas are more like Cabernet Sauvignon, but there is an undercurrent of plum from the Shiraz, nicely balanced plum fruit with bell pepper flavors and soft tannins. Very good now and will maintain for 2-3 more years in the cellar. An unexpected pleasure. Score: 8.5/10.
Gundlach Bundschu, Mountain Cuvee, Rhinefarm Vineyard, 2001 ($20) – Deep ruby color, refined berry and eucalyptus nose, round berry flavors with dusty tannins, nicely balanced package; Very good. Score: 8.5/10
Beringer, Alluvium, Knight’s Valley, 1999 ($30) – Five classic red Bordeaux varietals are used to create this blend: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Ruby with nice variation of color, strong berry nose and a bit of oak, very nice blackberry and bell pepper flavor spectrum with smooth, drying tannins. Delicious now but has another 3-5 years of cellar time left. Score: 9/10