Wine Finds: Russian River Valley pinot noir red and rosé
The late Rodney Strong is best known as one of the pioneers of Sonoma County’s modern wine industry, but he started his career in a very different way. Trained at the School of American Ballet in New York, he spent four years dancing in Paris, where he became a wine aficionado. In the early 1950s, he returned to New York to dance on Broadway but later moved to California to make wine. “I knew I couldn’t be an old dancer, but I could be an old winemaker,” Strong reportedly said. The following two high-scoring Russian River pinot noir wines are fine examples from Rodney Strong Vineyards, now owned by the Klein family.
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California
Bought • Costco, 4200 Rusty Road, in January for $13.99
Description • Tasting this elegant, salmon-colored wine on a snowy January evening made me smile and look forward to spring. It has an inviting floral nose and a refreshing acidity that makes you want to take another sip. Light- to medium-bodied, this rosé has lots of character and flavor and is packed with strawberry and tropical fruit. It would be great with everything from smoked salmon and goat cheese to spicy Asian cuisine.
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2017 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California
Bought • Costco, 4200 Rusty Road, in January for $13.89
Description • This delicious pinot noir continues to be one of my favorites in this price range. Earthy and Burgundian in style, it has a silky mouthfeel with soft tannins. A medium-bodied, complex red, it tastes of red fruit along with smoke, spice and toast that comes from 11 months of aging in French oak barrels. It ends with a very long finish and would go well with duck, mushroom dishes and roasted salmon.
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