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This episode of California Wine Country features two guests from Rodney Strong, Christopher O’Gorman, director of communication and Justin Seidenfeld, VP of viticulture and winemaking. They join Steve Jaxon, Dan Berger and Harry Duke in the studio. They describe the revival of the Rodney Strong Concert Series. This year it will feature three concerts over the summer, Tower of Power, Cobie Caillat and Blues Traveller. There will also be two concerts featuring local artists, whom they want to support after the Covid time kept them from being able to perform for big crowds.
(They are in the studio together with Karissa Kruse from the Sonoma County Winegrowers, Leah Scurto from PizzaLeah and Steve De Veres, who is working with Karissa Kruse on organizing the Healdsburg Wine and Food Experience, May 20-22. Hear the podcast episode of that conversation here.)
Davis Bynum Sauvignon Blanc Tasting
The Rodney Strong portfolio includes Davis Bynum wines. He was a pioneer of Sonoma County winemaking. He made the first single vineyard Pinot Noir. This is the Davis Bynum Sauvignon Blanc, Virginia’s Block. It is a Russian River Valley product, so the cool climate give it the usual herbal, zesty, lemon grass flavors. A combination of steel and oak and also acacia gives it floral notes unique to Sauvignon Blanc. Dan Berger describes what makes it great. It is rich as well as tart, which makes it good for food. This wine has the herbal components of Sauvignon Blanc but also has more, such as papaya, guava and other tropical notes. The credit goes to Greg Morthole, the winemaker.
The New Rodney Strong Red Blend
Justin Seidenfeld also describes their new release, their first ever Rodney Strong Red Blend a 2019 vintage. It is based on Merlot, plus Cabernet Franc from high elevations and some Cabernet Sauvignon. It exhibits Sonoma County identity, a sensual mid-palette, alcohol is balanced, but has some nuance and complexity from the Cabernet Franc and structure from the Cabernet Sauvignon. Dan Berger says it has the richness of both varietals but also has the herbal notes you need to go with the black cherries. “This is a fabulous blend,” says Dan.
They wanted to launch their Red Blend with “a show-stopper” and it goes well with the pizza that Leah Scurto has brought in from her pizzeria, PizzaLeah. It retails for $22, which makes everyone say, “Wow, that’s too low!” It’s selling out faster than they thought. It is already very good and will take some years too. Dan adds that it has silky tannins and the richest aftertaste he has tasted in a long time.
Rodney Strong Wine Club members have access to early ticket sales for the concert series and special access at the concerts, in addition to exclusive access to unique wines.