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Rodney Strong Winery has been a pioneer in more than a few areas of Sonoma winemaking but the most significant to me was the establishment of a single purpose vineyard in 1971.  The purpose?  Lush, rich, extravagant Cabernets.  The Alexander’s Crown vineyard is perched on a 350 foot rise in the south center of the Alexander Valley in Sonoma County.  This vineyard has produced delicate and complex Cabernet for many years and has been a favorite of mine for over a decade.

The Rockaway Vineyard was established in 1994 and is home to 5 of the traditional 6 Bordeaux varietals.  Located on a hill that runs up to 750 feet, this gravely, well drained earth produces smaller concentrated grapes more reminiscent to the mountain wines of Napa such as Mount Veeder than the lower elevation vineyards of Sonoma County.

These are both great examples of their terroir.  Both are cooler climate locations than that of Napa but both produce beautiful elegant fruit.  The Rockaway is bigger and bolder while the Alexander’s Crown is more refined and delicate.

Rodney Strong 2009 Alexander’s Crown Cabernet Sauvignon

DdV: 93
WS: n/a
WE: n/a
Price: $75.00 – Club or Winery Only
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Source: Alexander Valley – Sonoma County

We scored the 2008 Alexander’s Crown a classic 95. The 2009 is not quite as amazing as it’s predecessor but is still delightful.  If you like traditional Bordeaux styles you will be right at home here.  On the nose, dark rich berry, plum, and a slight hint of mint are in play.  The midpalate is greeted with more elegant dark berry as well as hints of dark chocolate, currant, and spice.  The finish is good and long with some hints of graphite.  Very nice balance and should gain more nuance in the cellar.  Great for steaks or rich chocolate desserts. Decant.

Rodney Strong 2008 Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon

DdV: 96
WS: n/a
WE: n/a
Price: $75.00 Club or Winery Only
Blend: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Source: Alexander Valley – Sonoma County

This is my first experience with the Rockaway and most certainly will not be my last.  This 2008 effort is an instant classic for me and reminds me of the Napa mountain wines I love so much.  Big, bold, complex but approachable now. Big dark mountain berries and an elegant touch of oak on the nose gives way to more dark berry, plum, cassis, and hints of coffee and spice.  Finish is very long with some chocolate, graphite, cedar and brambly mountain tannins. For me, this wine is great now but may be a bit hot for some while young.  This will really open up in the cellar for a year or two.  This is one of my favorites of the 08 vintage and is highly recommended.  Decant.

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