Last year Rodney Strong Vineyards added a new wine to their line. In addition to the County wines, Reserve wine etc. they added the Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon. This was a single vineyard effort and was made in a smaller production than the vast majority of their other releases. This year they added a second release in this category. Today I’ll cover both of the current releases of these single vineyard Cabernets. First up is the Rodney Strong Vineyards 2006 Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon. This selection is made entirely from fruit sourced at the Brothers Ridge Vineyard in Alexander Valley. This wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Barrel aging was accomplished over 22 months in French oak; 42% of the barrels were new. The suggested retail price for this wine is $75.
Vanilla, cedar, blackberry and leather are all prominent in the nose of this 2006 Cabernet. The rich, ripe and structured palate of this wine features relentless and powerful layers of intense dark fruit. Continued blackberry and dark plum are right up front throughout. Sweet dark chocolate, as well as persistent and lingering mineral notes lead the finish along with earth notes in spades. The alcohol for this wine clocks in over 15%. Despite that it doesn’t drink hot at all and retains good balance, marked by excellent acidity.
The second wine is the Rodney Strong Vineyards 2006 Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit for this wine was sourced at the Rockaway vineyard which was planted in 1994. In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon (97%), small amounts of Malbec (2%) and Petit Verdot (1%) were blended in. Barrel aging was accomplished over 22 months in French oak; 47% of them were new. The suggested retail price for this wine is $75.
Black raspberry, plum and wisps of vanilla are all apparent on the nose of the 2006 Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon. The palate of this wine is big and beefy with alternating red and dark fruit characteristics. Licorice, graphite, earth, hints of espresso and dark, dusty chocolate are all part of the lengthy finish. This wine has firm tannins and solid acidity.
I like each of these Cabernets a lot. They’re excellent and distinct expressions of specific vineyards in 2006. Both are tasty now and each will also benefit with a bit of additional bottle age. The Brothers Ridge is the more immediately accessible today with about an hour in the decanter really opening it up. The Rockaway is tighter right now and needs closer to 2 hours to really express itself. These wines are best enjoyed with substantial foods.
Considered alongside their portfolio as a whole these wines also add another dimension of complexity to the Rodney Strong family of offerings. They’re a huge Sonoma producer and it’s good to see them also spreading some of their focus to a couple of small production offerings. Here’s hoping this program gets expanded in the future to include other small production, single vineyard offerings, whether its additional Cabernet or some other varietals.