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Friday, April 22, 2011

Tasting and blending wines with Rick Sayre of Rodney Strong Vyds, March 2011 at Canoe

The Time and Date: Monday March 28, 2011, 2PM to 4 PM
The Event: A latest vintage tasting with Rodney Strong Vineyards
winemaker Rick Sayre, plus a on-on-one assemblage exercise to develop
the 2009 Symmetry wine.
The Venue: Canoe
The Target Audience: sommeliers and wine media
The Availability/Catalogue: wines are from consignment, Vintages and
private orders, as noted below. Mark Anthony is the Ontario agent.
The Quote/Background: due to a miscommunication, I ended up having a
talk with Rick Sayre on assembling the 2009 Symmetry. I was asked to
taste samples of the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc,
Petit Verdot and Malbec, assigning percentages to the final blend.
Symmetry is the winery's ace Meritage blend from the Alexander Valley.
It has been made since 1996, with cabernet sauvignon being the major
part of the blend (60 to 85%, depending on the vintage year's
circumstances). All five grapes were ripe and juicy, with the Petit
Verdot and Cabernet Franc having tannic overtones and some earthiness.
I made my blend about 32% cabernet sauvignon, 32% merlot, 32% Malbec,
and 2% apiece cab franc and petit verdot. I don't think Symmetry will
ever be this way since the wine is known to be cabernet-driven, but
Rick did like my blend (or so he said), characterizing it as elegant,
fine, harmonious, soft, and in the ripe Bordeaux-style, ready sooner
rather than later. Michael Pinkus was more traditional in the blend,
while Konrad Ejbich felt the need to pour in more PV and CF, going as
high as 15% or more in total.
The Wines: 10 wines were offered at a short tasting, after the seminar.
**** Four Stars (91+ in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rodney Strong Chalk Hill Chardonnay 2009, $24.95 Vintages Apr 30
-Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage 2007, $79.95 private order
-Rodney Strong Rockaway 2007 Alexander Valley, $89.95 private order
***1/2 Three and a Half Stars (88 – 90 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rodney Strong Merlot 2006 Sonoma County, Vintages $18.95
-Rodney Strong Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc 2009, $16.95
-Rodney Strong Russian River Pinot Noir 2009, $24.95 Vintages Essential
-Rodney Strong Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Alexander, $59.95
private order.
*** Three Stars (85 – 87 in Quality/Price Rating terms):
-Rodney Strong Chardonnay 2009 Sonoma County, $17.95 Vintages
-Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 Sonoma County, $18.95
-Rodney Strong Reserve Chardonnay 2007, $39.95 private order
The Food: tourtiere sliders, cocktail shrimps, breads, spring rolls.
The Downside: Some writers missed the first hour.
The Upside: A chance to talk with Rick one-on-one.
The Contact Person: or
The Marketing Effectiveness of this Event (numerical grade): 94.

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