Sunday, May 1, 2011

Cellarmistress Tastes Live With Rodney Strong Vineyards!

Yes!!! TasteLive is back for 2011 and what a great way to begin my new season with them by tasting some of Sonoma County's finest with Rodney Strong Vineyards! The event took place on April 12th and was called "Wining, Dining and Spooning with Rodney Strong." In addition to the actual event taking place at the Spoonbar in Healdsburg, California, selected bloggers were chosen to taste and sample out in the field.

Rodney Strong Vineyards is the 13th bonded winery in Sonoma County, founded in 1959. It is committed to quality and earth-friendly, sustainable practices and although they are a large case production winery (250,000+), I believe it is this commitment that makes them special and sets them apart. They truly seem like a small family winery rolled into a big one. I love it! And the wines speak for themselves. I have been drinking Rodney Strong wines for a very long time. They are widely available and if you have yet to try them, go out and get some! You will be pleasantly surprised!

For the event, we bloggers were each sent a set of four wine samples, a very nice media package and a CFL light bulb in conjunction with their "Green Light Pledge". The light bulb emits the same amount of light as a classic incandescent bulb while using 75-80% less electricity, making it more efficient. So I did my part and switched out one bulb as they had asked.

Now on to the wines...These wines were fabulous!!! I truly enjoyed all four of them and would highly recommend them to everyone!

The first wine we sampled was the 2009 Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc. This wine was named for a vineyard that Rodney established in 1971 and named after his wife Charlotte. Being a Sauvignon Blanc fanatic, I enjoyed the mineral and herbaceous nuances in this wine. 90% stainless steel fermented with 10% fermented in French oak. It was crisp, clean, refreshing and would be the perfect accompaniment for light salads and seafood dishes on a hot Summer day! And what a great price! $13.50. It is a steal!

Next was the 2009 Chalk Hill Estate Vineyards Chardonnay. As of late, I've had a tendency to shy away from Chardonnay because the market is just saturated with them. However, this Chardonnay has made me change my mind. When I want a reasonably-priced, beautifully rich one, this is where I will go to find it. I really did not want to stop drinking this one! It was creamy, balanced with some vanilla and spice nuances and a crisp, mineral-laden finish! Very nice. $20. (Yes, I couldn't believe the price point!)

Now on to the reds...First up was the 2008 Reserve Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley. My first thought was to call this wine a powerhouse because it definitely wasn't wimpy that's for sure! However, the more I tried it, the more I realized how elegant it was. It has both a masculine and a feminine side to it. The flavors are huge, powerful, yet the finish was soft and a bit voluptuous! Rasberry, cola, spiciness...A really beautiful but rich wine. I still have so much to learn about Pinot Noir but what I'm learning, I am liking a lot! $40.

And now for the best of the best: 2007 Symmetry Red Meritage from Alexander Valley. Oh my!! This is where they select the best of the best grapes to make a red blend and a lot of thought and care goes into the production of this wine. Once you taste it, you will know why! It is absolutely amazing! I was completely blown away! It is elegance and perfection in a bottle. Silky and rich with medium tannins and a very long finish. It is like a river of dark chocolate, blackberry and spice! $55.

With their wonderful philosophy and commitment to quality, it is for certain that Rodney Strong's legacy will live on for future generations to behold. I hope to see all this for myself as I travel to Sonoma County later this year. I am definitely looking forward to a visit!

Rodney Strong Vineyards is located at 11455 Old Redwood Highway, Healdsburg, California. They are open to the public seven days a week. Rodney Strong wines are widely available in markets all over the US. I encourage you to seek them out! I would like to thank the team at Rodney Strong and at TasteLive for putting on such a wonderful event and for choosing me to participate! See you all very soon!

"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.

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