Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County Reserve 2004
Visitors to the winery often ask what "Reserve" cabernet means to us. It's simple. Reserve means the winemaker's careful blend of individual wines made from time tested, meticulously farmed sections of some of the very best vineyards in Alexander Valley. Select areas within each vineyard are hand harvested individually, fermented separately, and aged in the finest French oak barrels. After about six months, each lot is tasted and graded, and only the highest graded wines that display depth, concentration, and age worthiness are considered for Reserve cabernet. The blend is then assembled, and the wine is returned to barrels to facilitate flavor integration. The wine is aged an additional 12 to 18 months, depending on the vintage, before bottling. Beginning in 2005, our Reserve cabernet is created in our new small lot winemaking facility, a "winery within the winery." Under the direction of consulting winemaker David Ramey, we employ cutting edge techniques such as cluster pre-sorting, berry sorting, and extended maceration. With small tanks and equipment sized for the most discriminating vineyard selection process, our new facility is truly state-of-the-art, and represents the Klein family commitment towards producing the finest wines possible. The 2005 vintage began with a rather late bud break during an unseasonably cool and wet spring. Record May rains luckily came before bloom for cabernet, and an average to cool summer further contributed to a harvest about three weeks later than normal. Fortunately harvest conditions were rain free with ideal temperatures for all varieties, and we finished bringing in our cabernet by the 14th of November. Full bodied and richly textured, this cabernet displays intense aromas and flavors of black currant, sandalwood, white pepper and cocoa, with a smooth, lingering finish. If you have access to a cool dark place, lay some bottles of this Reserve down for up to a decade and patience will reward you! 2004 Acclaim: GOLD, 90 Points, "Exceptional" - BTI 2008 World Wine Championships 91 Points - Wine News, March / April / May 2008 Sugar: 0.04 Oak: 82% French, 18% American
Night OneThe 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 TwoThe 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.
Pleasant and smooth start. With first sip, starts very mild..nearly "watered down". As soon as you start to swallow, the tannins kick in and actually becomes very bold, nearly harsh and biting. A little bit too much of an acidic finish for my personal taste. If it finished as smooth as it had started, it would be on my "Buy Again" list.
2004 was a warm year and perhaps that is why this Cabernet is on the lighter side for the style. Black cherry, blackberries, and rich in the mouth, this is dark red that is mild on tannins. A mild, almost non existent finish. I enjoyed this wine as I BBQed lamb chops with rosemary and garlic with roasted peppers and aspargus for Agent Blush.