Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Upshot Wines: Unusual Blends

Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Upshot Wines: Unusual Blends

Rodney Strong Vineyards’ Upshot Wines: Unusual Blends.

A well-known name in Sonoma County, Rodney Strong Vineyards is a name that many wine connoisseurs are familiar with. Russian River Valley Winery has evolved and matured in tandem with the growth and maturation of the Sonoma County wine industry.

UPSHOT wines, which comprise a white mix and a red blend, have been added to the inventory of wines produced by Rodney Strong Vineyards. For our tasting, we were provided with both wines.

The establishment of Rodney Strong Vineyards started as a second job for former ballet dancer Rodney Strong when he retired from the profession. It was 1959 when he and his wife relocated to Northern California and started a small winemaking operation.

They bought wine in quantity, blended it, bottled it, and sold it to the general public. After purchasing a vineyard in Windsor in 1962 and continuing to make wine, Rodney planted the first Chardonnay vines in the Chalk Hill AVA in 1965, which would eventually become the Chalk Hill Wine Region.

Strong acquired property in the Russian River Valley in 1968, planted vines (he was one of the first to grow Pinot Noir in the region), and established a winery in 1970, which is currently home to the Rodney Strong tasting room and basement cellar, among other facilities.

There was at least one more first along the road, to round out the list. Alexander’s Crown, the first single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from Sonoma County, was launched by Rodney Strong in 1974.

Rodney Strong eventually retired from winemaking, and in 1979 he recruited Rick Sayre to take over as winemaker for the family business. To Tom Klein and his family, Strong sold the winery he owned in 1989. During his time as a management consultant, Tom got familiar with the winery in 1979 and saw the potential that existed there.

A significant investment was made by the Klein Family in winemaking equipment as well as barrel storage space. Winery quality and output both increased steadily over time.

Besides winning awards for their wines, Rodney Strong Vineyards has invested in solar panels, improved the use of sustainable agricultural methods, and in 2009 became the first carbon-neutral winery in Sonoma County.

To do this, Rodney Strong sustainably farms 14 estate vineyards and makes wines from some of the best appellations in Sonoma County, including Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Knights Valley, Petaluma Gap, and the Sonoma Coast, among others.

The Rodney Strong vineyards and winery have both been recognized as environmentally friendly by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance (CSUWA) (CSWA).

Originally hired as an assistant winemaker in 2010, Justin Seidenfeld was moved to the position of Director of Winemaking in 2016.

The team at Davis Bynum was formed in 2005, with Greg Morthole joining as Lab Director and then being elevated to Winemaker. Rick Sayre, who is currently Winemaker Emeritus, was a mentor to both men.

In addition to the Rodney Strong Vineyards Sonoma County, Estate, Reserve, and Single Vineyard wines, the portfolio of wines includes wines from UPSHOT, Knotty Vines, and ROWEN Wine Co., among other labels.

According to Rodney Strong Vineyards, the concept of an upshot is as follow:

the ultimate or ultimate beneficial consequence or conclusion of a conversation, action, or series of events

Justin Seidenfeld’s ability to mix accessible, complicated blends is reflected (and ultimately results in a beneficial conclusion) in the UPSHOT wines. As you will soon discover, the traditional blending rules do not apply to this collection of wines.

White Blend, California, UPSHOT, 2019.

In the glass, the 2019 UPSHOT White Blend from California is light yellow, with abundant notes of yellow peaches, ripe pears, and honeysuckle.

Stone fruit, citrus, and pears are the first flavors to emerge, followed by undertones of dry grass and apricot. When the fruit notes are balanced with sharp acidity, it is a delicious combination! Alcohol by volume (ABV): 13 percent $19

California appellations and grape varietals come together to create this pleasantly sippable wine. The varietal composition is as follows: 53% Grenache Blanc, 18% Pinot Noir, 16% Gewürztraminer, 8% Viognier, 5% Sauvignon Blanc.

The varietal composition is as follows: 53% Grenache Blanc, 18% Pinot Noir, 16% Gewürztraminer, 5% Sauvignon Blanc There is a pleasant surprise in the Pinot Noir. It is composed of 53 percent Paso Robles wine, 16 percent Mendocino County, 14 percent Lake County and 8 percent Monterey County, with the remaining 9 percent Sonoma County in the middle.

Sonoma County, Red Blend, 2019 UPSHOT

In the Sonoma County of California, the 2019 UPSHOT Red Blend is an excellent choice. With smells of plums, baking spices, juicy blackberries, and alfalfa hay, this medium red in the glass is a delight to sip!

Notes of ripe boysenberries and blackberries mingle with blueberry flavors and earthy bramble to create a wine that is smooth and dry on the palate with lively acidity and tannins. $19 for 14.5 percent alcohol by volume.

When you drink this vibrant mix of 37 percent Zinfandel, 34 percent Merlot, 20% Malbec, 5 percent Petit Verdot, and 4 percent Riesling, the fruit notes are highly enticing.

There’s a surprise in store for you this time…Riesling! Unless otherwise stated, all cultivars are from Sonoma County.

These wines are ideal for enjoying in the garden and have me longing for the arrival of warm weather. Rodney Strong Vineyards has given me permission to share UPSHOT wines with you. I am grateful.

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