Rodney Strong Vineyards - 2006 Reserve Chardonnay

Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape in the world. Partially as a result of its ubiquity it's also made in a wide array of disparate styles. Rodney Strong Vineyards alone makes four different Chardonnays. I recently looked at their Chalk Hill Chardonnay. Today I'm looking at their reserve. The 2006 Russian River Reserve spent 17 months in French oak, 51% of it being new. This selection is available only through their tasting room and website at a price of $40.

Apple, vanilla, spice and toasty notes fill the nose of this Reserve Chardonnay. From the first sip and throughout the palate of this wine brioche, creme brulee and buttery notes are prominent. They're underscored by terrific acidity and a host of mineral notes that carry through a lengthy and impressive finish. Amongst all the other notes and characteristics, apple leads the way in prominence. Every other characteristic is nuanced in comparison.

What I like about best about this Chardonnay is two-fold. The length of the finish leaves a lasting and pleasing impression. Similarly the use of oak is substantial but it's well integrated. This is certainly a bigger, creamier style of Chardonnay than the Chalk Hill. That said it's not so big and buttery as to be monolithic. The acid structure is key to keeping all the components in check and making this a terrifically balanced wine. Another compelling wine from Rodney Strong Vineyards.

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