Rodney Strong Vineyards is a dependable name in wine. They’re both one of the flagship brands of Sonoma County and a large winery that produces a wide array of wines in many different price points and styles. The bottom line for me is that their releases tend to be at the very least fairly priced in their respective categories. Sometimes their wines can also be an outright bargain as well. Importantly though, I’ve never had a wine from Rodney Strong Vineyards that I felt was overpriced for the quality it delivered. For my money, that’s no small feat. Today I’ll look at the latest release of one of their Chardonnays. The Rodney Strong Vineyards 2008 Chalk Hill Chardonnay was produced using fruit from the Chalk Hill area. This offering is 100% Chardonnay. 97% of this wine was fermented in barrel and underwent malolactic fermentation. Barrel aging occurred over an 8 month period. This wine has a suggested retail price of $20.
Pineapple, McIntosh apple, and a hint of burnt sugar are the most prominent aromas in the fresh and lively nose of this 2008 Chardonnay. Orchard fruits, including continued apple, are the stars of the palate. Spice and mineral notes play important secondary roles. A hint of oak emerges in the finish along with a rich creamy edge. Crisp acidity keeps things in balance.
I have found this Chardonnay from Rodney Strong Vineyards to be a consistent winner. It does a nice job of straddling a few lines. It has new oak clearly imparted but never over the top. It’s a premium wine at $20 but it over delivers on quality in that price range. Finally it has a generally consistent flavor profile from year to year while still allowing vintage variation to dictate its nuances. A fine and worthy Sonoma Chardonnay.