Rodney Strong Vineyards
2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon •Estate Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Alexander Valley
What We Say
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Mission Codename: Decades of dedication
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Acquire a limited quantity of the fantastic value 2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from our good friends at Rodney Strong Vineyards
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Rodney Strong Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemaker: Rick Sayre
Today’s Cabernet Sauvignon comes to us from one of our favorite Sonoma County wineries, Rodney Strong. Grown in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, today’s wine is a fantastic value Cabernet Sauvignon with some of its ‘classified’ grapes coming from from Rodney Strong’s famed Alexander’s Crown Vineyard that was originally planted in 1971.
Alexander Valley in northeast Sonoma County is located on the western side of the Mayacamas range and extends westward to the edge of the Russian River Valley. This appellation was formerly considered a part of Dry Creek Valley but became its own appellation in November 1984. The region is best known for exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot but recently people are starting to discover its Sangiovese, Nebbiolo and Chardonnay as well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep garnet in color with ruby streaks through its clear dark core. Along the edges the color lightens to ruby red and when swirled evenly spaced fast thin legs are followed by slower legs that hang before descending to the wine below.
Smell – Medium in intensity with rich notes of oaky black and red fruit including jammy boysenberry, red raspberry and tangy currants, soft herbal and subtle early notes linger just underneath wild anise and black licorice aromas.
Feel – Smooth and soft, this full-bodied dry wine and despite its relative youth, this wine has plush well developed tannins with its bright acidity hitting at mid palate.
Taste – Rich, jammy and expansive, this fruit-forward wine shows its black and red fruit well with notes of soft spice and black pepper, subtle oak, herbal and classic vegital green pepper.
Finish -Medium in length with its jammy black fruit and notes of rich ripe plum lingering over notes of licorice and oak. This wine’s bright tangy acidity lasts and begs for another sip.
Conclusion – For a relatively young and entry level priced Cab, the 2007 Rodney Strong Vineyards Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon shows exceptionally well. Everything you’d expect from Rodney Strong at a price point that makes this wine easy to open for any occasion and even easier to enjoy. Drinking very well now and its complexity increases as it opens up. Enjoy this wine right away or for the next few years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Rick Sayre, Vice President, Director of Winemaking
AGENT RED: Greetings, Rick. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Alexander Valley Cabernet today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
RICK: Always a pleasure!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
RICK: I wasn’t struck by lightning so to speak. It was a slow burn. I was 19 and a bootstrap Cellarmaster at Simi Winery. Prior to that I worked at an Italian restaurant and was a cook and firefighter in the Forestry stationed at Occidental. Wine and food, what can I say? It was my encounter with Andre Tchelistcheff who became my mentor at Simi in 1973. I was his first “kid” after he retired from Beaulieu Vineyards.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
RICK: It was Andre and his passion was contagious. I picked up knowledge from other greats along the way; Bob Stemmler, Maryann Graff, Zelma Long, and of course Rodney Strong.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
RICK: Anyone who enjoys wine. It is not just for breakfast anymore!
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
RICK: This one is simple. A big juicy steak! I have to say there are people that have this with oysters. To each his own. When things get a little too serious I even recommend it with a hot tub.
RED: In your opinion, what makes Sonoma County and Alexander Valley so special?
RICK: Sonoma County with its diversity of soil, and climate is one of the best places on earth to work, play, garden and cook with local ingredients. Alexander Valley is one of the best places for big, juicy Cabernets. I get to play with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Russian River Valley as well.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
RICK: The tasks of Winemaking and grape growing change with the seasons. Right now blending, bottling and traveling to spread the good word are on the front burner.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
RICK: Drink what you like. Drink with friends and have them share a few bottles so you can expand your taste buds without breaking your wallet.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RICK: I like to get the word out about consistency of our wines. I have been here going on 31 years and it is a combination of good vineyards, (we own more than a 1,000 acres) family ownership that has a long range outlook, and the best tools/ equipment a winemaker would want.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The approximate location of the Rodney Strong Vineyards (look for the the brick-colored, X-shaped building) can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
“Bold fruit aromas and flavors centered on red plum and boysenberry, and a rich and mouthfilling texture with soft tannins ”. RICK SAYRE, WINEMAKER
The Alexander Valley signature style is evident in this delicious cabernet: bold fruit aromas and favors centered on red plum and boysenberry, and a rich and mouthflling texture with soft tannins, all of which we’ve framed in the fnest oak barrels for 18.5 months. Enjoy over the next 3 – 6 years.
History: Rod Strong recognized the Alexander Valley as an ideal place to grow cabernet sauvignon as far back as 1971, when he planted our frst cabernet vineyard on a hill known as Alexander’s Crown. Today we proudly farm over 200 acres of estate cabernet on the benches and hillsides above the valley foor, where cabernet displays the fnest expression of the Alexander Valley terroir.
In The Vineyards: The 2007 vintage started off with a very dry spring, which tended to make for smaller clusters, smaller berries, and less canopy overall. The growing season was about as perfect as any winegrower would want, with warm afternoons and cool evenings, and a complete lack of hot or cold spells. With no weather problems at harvest time, few are surprised with the exceptional quality of this vintage, which will likely go down as one of the best in recent years. Our estate cabernet harvest commenced on September 15th, and concluded on October 24th
About The Winery:
Rodney Strong is one of Sonoma County’s most dramatic wineries. Visitors are invited to our hospitality center offering a sampling of the award winning wines of Rodney Strong. Enjoy wine tasting with balcony views, taking a tour of the winery’s working centers, attending special events, or just relaxing with a picnic and glass of wine on our lush lawn set among the beautiful vineyards of the Russian River Valley.
“Rodney Strong Vineyards was founded on the recognition of Sonoma County’s potential for excellence. Through decades of grapegrowing and winemaking, we continue to fulfill the promise of the fine land. Our approach is for the grapes from each vineyard and growing region to express their intrinsic character in the special wines we craft. Gentle handling, careful use of barrel and stainless steel fermentation and proper oak aging are guided and monitored to enhance the natural characteristics of our fruit.”
“Today the winery owns and farms many exceptional vineyards in Sonoma County’s prime grapegrowing appellations where our critically acclaimed Estate, Vineyard Designated and Reserve wines are grown.” – Rick Sayre, Winemaker.
About The Winemaker:
Rick Sayre – Vice President, Director of Winemaking – Rick Sayre began his winemaking career in 1970 at the age of 19 as assistant winemaker and cellar master at Simi Winery in Sonoma County. He joined Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1979 and since has been responsible for winemaking for the Winery’s Sonoma County, Estate, and Reserve wines.
As a practitioner of handcrafted wines, Rick is involved in all aspects of winemaking from vineyard management through final blending. In 1991, his hands-on approach paid off as Wine & Spirits Magazine named him “Chardonnay Winemaker of the Year”. Again, in 1999 Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences named him “Winemaker of the Year”.
Rick’s education in winemaking began in the 1970s under the direction of the world-renowned winemaster, Andre Tchelistcheff. It is to Tchelistcheff that he attributes his passion for the art and his desire to master the craft. Always a perfectionist with an eye for detail, Rick continues to apply these traits to making the fine wine of Rodney Strong Vineyards. “It’s so important to be aware of everything,” he says. “Andre taught me that a winemaker must live with his wine, from walking the vineyards, to the careful craft of guiding the wine into bottle. Even the smallest details can have an effect.”
Rick has expanded his winemaking expertise with several trips to France, where he studied the interplay of oak and wine. His voracious appetite for knowledge in winemaking from around the world also inspired journeys to Australia, New Zealand and Spain.
After visiting many of the French cooperage houses, he decided to bring their barrel toasting techniques back to the States and became the first winemaker in California to install an in-house cooperage, specializing in toasting of American oak barrels. In recent years, Rick has worked closely with World Cooperage, a renown American cooperage company, in an effort to perfect the American oak barrel for winemaking.
Since his arrival at Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rick has been instrumental in bringing worldwide notoriety to the Winery’s Estate wines. Alexander’s Crown Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Chalk Hill Vineyard Chardonnay have set standards of Sonoma County winemaking, and have become favorites to consumers all over the United States.
Rick lives in Windsor with his wife, Peggy. Avid gardeners, the two are often spotted at the local farmer’s market selling their fruits and vegetables. Rick enjoys cooking delicious comfort food to accompany his wines. He also finds solace in casting a line now and again for any of a variety of fish. And, while he enjoys a handful of other sporting activities, he admits bruises and broken bones are for days past.
Winemaker: Rick Sayre
Blend: 93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 1% Syrah
Appellation: Alexander Valley, Sonoma County
TA: 0.60 gm/100ml
Residual Sugar: 0.08%
Cellar & Fermentation: 18.5 months in French and American oak barrels