Recently I had the pleasure of sipping on a wine that was bottled when I was a very young lass. Opening a vintage bottle at a dinner party celebrating 25 years of family ownership at Rodney Strong Vineyards, just seemed appropriate for Wine Country. A 1977 Alexander’s Crown Estate Bottled Sonoma Vineyards Cabernet Sauvginon, it was a terrific experience.
The lovely Sommelier and Social Diva, Rachel Voorhees, had invited me to the event earlier in the month and I looked forward to visiting the Carneros Bistro in Sonoma again as well as sipping on the Rodney Strong bottle line up.
The Carneros Bistro is attached to the Carneros Inn and Spa, a lovely place in the heart of things in the small town.
Although I knew a little about the Cabernet at Rodney Strong, I hadn’t had a chance to try their Pinot Noir or their Port. Both of which I had heard wonderful things about. Thanks again to Rachel and Robert for the invite and great conversations on twitter. Also a Huge thanks goes to Dan Berger and his lovely wife for bringing the bottle of 1977 from his cellar.
Opening a bottle that has been corked since 1977 takes great skill and a Pro Somm as well as patience and the right tools.
A bottle of 1974 was also opened which unfortunately did not make it over the years and had gone flat. Once arriving at the event, guests sipped on a RSV Sauvignon Blanc while enjoying delicious appetizers with ahi tuna, crab and a lovely apple topped pastry.
It was noted that all dishes both appetizers and dinner were all paired exclusively for the event to the Rodney Strong Wines beforehand.
New dishes were created and items substituted to highlight the wines. We chatted in the garden area where some of the produce used is grown here at the restaurant.
Chef de Cuisine Andrew Wilson and Executive Chef Peter James Smith were a pleasure to meet and also very knowledgeable when asked questions, even going so far as to run and grab fava bean leaves when asked about the flavor.
While the food service began, guests at the 25th Celebration Dinner heard more about Rodney Strong’s history from the Director of Communications, Robert Larsen.
The Rodney Strong Vineyard in Healdsburg, CA began almost 50 years ago, when an American dancer named Rod Strong settled in Sonoma County to pursue winemaking. In those times, growing grapes was not the norm. RSV was only the 13th winery bonded in the newly discovered Sonoma County wine industry.
Klein Family, 4th generation California farmers, purchased the winery in 1989 and initiated a renewed commitment of modern artisan winemaking.
With 12 Estate Vineyards, the Klein family can express each growing area’s intrinsic character in the wine. Using gentle handling, careful use of barrel and stainless steel fermentation, and proper oak aging to enhance the natural characteristics of the fruit in each spot, they make some fierce juice.
While we dined we were also able to hear from Rachel Voorhees about future events, plans and upcoming treats available soon for us wine lovers in Sonoma County from Rodney Strong.
Food always heightens the experience when it comes to wine tasting. As well as helps to highlight the complexities in the wine itself as well.
Justin Seidenfeld, Winemaker at Rodney Strong was able to tell a great story and paint a picture of the winemaking process with each individual wine we tasted. With each sip came a new story of the vineyard terrain or the barreling or fermentation processes.
As you can see from the lovely pictures, each course of our meal was exquisite with lovely attention to detail on the plating and service. Each guest was presented with their course in unison and all dishes were presented with one of the two Chefs present to tell us more about the food and why the wine paired so well with the flavors on our plate.
Props to the Carneros Bistro for a lovely banquet room and experience and Brava to the wonderful cook staff and Chef de Cuisine Andrew Wilson and Executive Chef Peter James Smith for a fantastic evening of wine and dining.
The menu of the wonderful food we dined on will be posted soon.
I was also impressed that Rodney Strong Vineyards has taken an active role in helping the local environment and fighting climate disruption. Their solar energy system is one of the largest of any winery in the world. Those are some impressive panels. There was another factoid that I found intriguing and I made an appointment to speak more with the winemaker and winery about this later. Stay tuned for the article next month, readers.
They also continue to test and implement the latest sustainable practices. By doing so, they not only improve the local community and landscape, but also ensure exceptional wines are poured by Rodney Strong Vineyards.
Rodney Strong Vineyards – Website Here
11455 Old Redwood Highway
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Phone: (800) 678-4763