Rodney Strong Archives - Page 2 of 2 - Please The Palate
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Last November on a trip to Sonoma County, I visited Rodney Strong Vineyards in Alexander Valley. Touring the property with winemaker Justin Seidenfeld, we stopped by a The Boneyard, an area of the winery that had once been a storage area for founder Rod Strong's items, including his old piano. Justin was telling me that he had converted this space into a state-of-the-art winery for his newest project, Rowen Wine Company. This week the wines were launched and Rowen Wine Company is the Please The Palate Pick of the Week. Rodney Strong Vineyards was established in 1959 by dancer Rod Strong and purchased by the Klein family in 1989. They own 12 estate vineyards in Sonoma Country. In 2002, Rodney Strong Vineyards signed a long-term lease for the Cooley ranch, a 20,000 acre property north of Dry Creek Valley. Actually, 16,000 acres sit inside Sonoma County and 4,000 of the acres are in Mendocino. The Rodney Strong Vineyards team spent seven years studying microclimates, charting elevations and digging 200 test pits in order to determine the best spots to plant vineyard blocks. By 2010-2011, they selected 200 acres that sit on top of metamorphic, iron-rich greenstone and volcanic soils and began planting.They planted Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Syrah and Viognier, which is inter-planted with the Syrah.
When I first entered the wine industry in 2001, ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) was one of the first big annual wine events I attended. I went a few times but for more than a decade, Zinfandel has not been a grape on my radar. I drink so many wines from around the world and Zinfandel, the native grape to California, had been intentionally forgotten. I had made the assumption that they were all big, jammy, over-spiced, high-alcohol wines. Now, 15 years later, I went back this week to ZinEX and spent four days drinking Zinfandel. And I will say that it is time to rethink Zinfandel! Therefore, Zinfandel is the Please The Palate pick of the week! ZinEX is a three-day wine and culinary extravaganza attracting wine lovers from around the world. It is organized by Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP), a membership based organization that advances knowledge and appreciation for American Zinfandel and its unique place in our culture and history. I spent four days exploring the diversity of Zinfandel styles while tasting with many of the legends and many of the young wine stars of Zinfandel.

Rodney Strong Vineyards recently hosted a dinner in the heart of the Rockaway Vineyard to celebrate the release of three single vineyard cabernet sauvignons from the Alexander Valley. Overlooking the...