Rodney Strong Vineyards - 2007 Chalk Hill Chardonnay / 2006 Alexander Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Sonoma County’s Rodney Strong Vineyards is one of the wineries I’ve gone back to time and again for a look at current releases. In addition to being a consistent producer at a wide-ranging number of tiers, they’re wines are also extensively available throughout the country. My next few posts will look at six wines in their portfolio that I recently tasted and enjoyed. In addition to wines under the Rodney Strong Vineyards name I’ll also look at a few releases from one of their other labels. Today I’ll cover one of their Chardonnays and a Cabernet Sauvignon. First up is the Rodney Strong Vineyards 2007 Chalk Hill Chardonnay. This selection is produced using  fruit sourced from Chalk Hill. This wine is 100% Chardonnay. 97% of it underwent malolactic and was aged in French oak for 9 months.  The suggested retail price for this offering is $20.

Intermingling fruit aromas, particularly pear and apple burst from the nose of this Chardonnay along with vanilla and toasty oak notes. The orchard fruit theme continues throughout the palate where Macintosh apple and Asian pear notes are prominent and layered along with hints of crème fraîche, pie crust, and baker’s spices. This solid core of persistent fruit leads to a nice finish that shows off a flourish of lemon custard, wisps of smoke and a final echo of crème brûlée

The Chalk Hill Chardonnay does a nice job straddling the oak line. It has added complexity and spice characteristics that have been imparted from its time in barrel. Importantly though the oak never detracts from the fresh and lively fruit. This is a very solid Chardonnay in its price category, and a consistent one from vintage to vintage too.

The second wine I’m recommending today is the Rodney Strong Vineyards 2006 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is made from estate fruit. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (92%), Merlot (6%), and Petite Verdot (2%) are also blended in. Barrel aging was accomplished over 21 months in a combination of French and American oak. The suggested retail price for this wine is $25.

Black cherry, plum and hints of ash waft with conviction from the nose of this 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon. A back and forth tussle for your taste buds between red and black fruits occur throughout the rich and persistent palate. Dried cranberry, blackberry and continued plum notes are the most prominent. These lead to a lingering finished most notably marked by tobacco, earth, leather and a rich vein of mineral notes. A hit of sour cherry provides a final, memorable reference point. This wine has yielding tannins and good acidity.

For $25 (less if you shop wisely) this Cabernet Sauvignon provides good varietal and regional character. It’s also a fine wine to drink while your reserve Cabernets are gaining some bottle age. Much like the Chardonnay above this wine has been a consistent performer from vintage to vintage.

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