One of the things I take into account when considering a wine is intent. What was the goal set out for that particular offering and was it achieved? Rodney Strong makes a wide range of wines in many price categories. Wines with a suggested retail price under $25 make up a substantial number of their offerings each year. Many of those in fact are under $20. So it's clear they're serving the everyday market with many of their wines. However the wine I'm looking at today is from their reserve line. The 2005 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve was produced from Alexander Valley fruit. This selection is 100% varietal. It spent 24 months in a combination of French (93%) and American (7%) oak barrels. The suggested retail price for this Cabernet is $50.
Casis, cedar, vanilla and leather notes fill the nose of the Alexander Valley designated Cabernet along with subtle tobacco. Taking the first sip it's apparent this wine is a bit on the young side right now and thus a little tight out of the bottle. A solid 60-90 minutes in the decanter alleviates that and allows the wine to express it charms. Black cherry and dark plum are prominent throughout a rich mouth-filling palate. The finish which is lengthy brings out white pepper, mocha notes and an emerging earthiness.
This offering has excellent structure, firm but approachable tannins and good acidity. While it's delicious now, especially after decanting, it'll improve for the next couple of years and drink well for at least 6 or 7 after that. This is a fine example of Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.
It seems Rodney Strong has set out to make a reserve Cabernet appropriate for special occasions and mid-term aging with more complexity, nuances and elegance than their entry level Alexander Valley Cabernet. By this measure they have succeeded. This will stand up to scrutiny against similarly priced Alexander valley Cabernet's.
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