Wednesday, November 19, 2008

2004 Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Type- Red
Producer- Rodney Strong
Variety- Cabernet Sauvignon
Designation- Reserve
Country- USA
Region- California
SubRegion- Sonoma County
Appellation- Sonoma County
Alcohol- 14.3%

The Wooden Guys tried this Rodney Strong Reserve the night after they had Rodney Strong's new Rockaway single vineyard release. The comparison was interesting. I suspect the Reserve from '04 grew up to be Rockaway the next year, at twice the price.

Night One

The first obvious thing to note about the bottle is its size and weight. It is unusually heavy and has very thick neck. The bottle, empty, weighed in at 871 grams, about halfway between a normal bottle and the Rockaway mega-bottle. The cork is natural, and of normal size and length, shorter than the one in the Rockaway.

The nose is a little hot (not a surprise at 14.3% REPORTED alcohol, which allows up to 15.3% alcohol) and a little closed. There is some blackcurrant and vanilla. It should open a lot more overnight.

The palate offers very sweet dark fruit and sweet smooth tannins. The fruit is blackcurrant, very ripe blackberry and just a hint of black cherry. Cedar and vanilla show up on the mid-palate. The finish is sweet and long, tannins smooth but leathery.

The tannins provide a good backbone and the nose was closed. I would not be surprised to see big changes on Night Two.

Night Two

The nose and palate are similar to the Rockaway, though not quite so complex. The nose had plenty of dark fruit, blackcurant and plums. there was also some spicy cedar and vanilla.

On the palate, just like the Rockaway, it opened with black fruit, moved toward very sweet brown sugar and vanilla on the mid-palate, ending with clying borwn sugar sweetness. Tannins were smooth and sweet.

Like the Rockaway before it, I expect this will improve as the fruit and wood settle down a bit. Still, it is very sweet and oaky, lacking in terroir and complexity. this is a very personal point of view from somebody who prefers more classic Bordeaux to modern heavily worked Cali Cabs.

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