Rodney Strong Vineyards has a deeply entrenched history in Sonoma County wines, leading back to when a celebrated American dancer Rod Strong returned from France to begin his second career based on his passion for winemaking. In 1959 he married his dancing partner and moved to Northern California where he started making wine in his new home. As he said then, “I knew I couldn’t be an old dancer, but I could be an old winemaker.”
He purchased a winery and vineyard in Windsor in 1962, his first of many vineyards that he will establish throughout the prime growing areas of Sonoma County. He was the first to plant Chardonnay in what will eventually become known as the Chalk Hill AVA and planted Pinot Noir in the Russian River Valley in 1968 when the primary agricultural adventures at that time were fruit orchards and dairies.
In 1989 the Klein Family, with their generations of experience in California agriculture, purchased Rodney Strong Vineyards investing heavily in infrastructure capitalizing on the powerful reputation of the winery. Rodney Strong Vineyards continued to grow while still enhancing their reputation for critically acclaimed Single Vineyard and Reserve wines and best-in-class Sonoma County varietal wines. Tom Klein, the current proprietor of Rodney Strong is a fourth generation California farmer who also has a strong business background with global management firm McKinsey & Company. The head winemaker Rick Sayre has been a Sonoma County wine business since he was 19, working under such prestigious winemakers as Andre Tchelistcheff. Rick joined Rodney Strong in 1979 and has been with the winery for over three decades and has led to the development of Rodney Strong’s many world-class labels.
As a leader in Sonoma County wines, Rodney Strong has recently release three new vintages of their Sonoma County brand wines, the 2013 Chardonnay, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2012 Merlot.
The 2013 Sonoma County Chardonnay is a blend of both estate fruit and locally farmed fruit that results in a wine that reflects the Sonoma County terroir. This wine was barrel fermented with lees stirring every month to give nice aroma of ripe lemon and apple with a touch of toast. As you taste this wine you will enjoy the complexity of fruits and spices that enjoy lemon, apple, pineapple and pear with a background of various spices. It has perfect acidity and a nice lingering finish that leaves these same flavors on your palate. Due to this acidity and fruits you will find that this is a nice food wine that works well with seafood such as salmon and cod, particularly if they have been prepared with a spicy sauce or pesto.
Rodney Strong 2012 Sonoma County Merlot is a blend from three estate vineyards in Alexander Valley. The intense nose of black cherry, blueberry, spice and plum leads you on to the lush flavors on the palate. It has a nice silky texture and a long fruity finish. I also picked up a touch of bakers chocolate and vanilla. Again like all of Rodney Strong’s wines, it is a great wine to have with dinner as the food helps bring out the various flavors of this wine.
Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon has really shined at Rodney Strong Vineyards. They first planted this grape in Alexander Valley in 1971 and have developed three premier Cab vineyards in this region, where, since then, many wineries have found that Alexander Valley is a great place for Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2012 Rodney Strong Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich full bodied wine bursting with fruit flavors of dark fruit including black cherries, plum, and cassis. You will particularly enjoy the spiciness of this wine with black pepper, clove, allspice and more. This wine continues on to a long lush finish.
Rodney Strong has a strong commitment to the environment and sustainability. Their vineyard practices are certified by the California Sustainable Winegrower’s Alliance. They area also a carbon neutral winery and have earned Fish Friendly Farming certification. In addition they have a large solar panel installation that has a PV surface area of over 80,000 square feet.
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Rodney Strong Vineyards