Rodney Strong Single Vineyards: Rockaway and Brothers Ridge



By Kori ~ February 21st, 2011.

Rodney Strong founded Rodney Strong Vineyards, located in Healdsburg, California, in 1959. Current owner Tom Klein and the Klein family purchased the winery in 1989. In 2005, Klein added a “winery within a winery” concept to the Rodney Strong portfolio to focus on small-lot, artisan winemaking. The debut release from their Single Vineyards line was the 2005 Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon. It was the first in a series of three single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. The Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon debuted the following year with the 2006 vintage. Later this year, the third in the trio of wines will be released, the 2008 Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon.

Recently, we had the opportunity to taste the 2007 vintage of both Rockaway and Brothers Ridge in a blind samples tasting. Both wines are very good, but we especially enjoyed the Rockaway.

The fruit for both wines comes from the Alexander Valley in California’s Sonoma County. Rockaway Vineyard is located in the eastern hills of the Alexander Valley, just south of Geyserville. Established in 1994, Rockaway is planted to all five of the classic Bordeaux varieties with the majority being Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Its soil is comprised of gravelly clay subsoil over fractured sandstone. Brothers Ridge is located in the eastern hills of Cloverdale, which is the warmest region of the Alexander Valley. Its 141 acres are planted mostly to Cabernet Sauvignon along with smaller amounts of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Its soil is comprised of well-drained loam with sandstone, shale, and ancient greenstone underneath.

If these Single Vineyards wines are out of your price range, Rodney Strong also offers a lineup of more moderately priced wines that we have found to be good with high QPRs.

2007 Rodney Strong Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon (Rockaway Vineyard, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep, dark red in color. Nice nose with black fruit and black pepper aromas. Gorgeous black fruits, black pepper, spice, and licorice come through on the palate. Full-bodied with lively acidity and medium to high, drying tannins. Well-balanced and smooth with a long finish.
Quality: 4 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $75

2007 Rodney Strong Brothers Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon (Brothers Ridge Vineyard, Alexander Valley, Sonoma County, California): 98% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. Deep, dark purplish red. Aromatic with black fruits and subtle earthy notes on the nose. Black fruits, earth, and a touch of spice on the palate. Full-bodied with lively acidity, high tannins, and a long finish.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Received as sample, suggested retail $75


Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Red Wine, Wines Over $25

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