Rodney Strong Vineyards Spring Wine Dinner

This past Saturday night, we attended our wine clubs (Friends of the Vine) Spring Wine Dinner featuring Rodney Strong Vineyards.    Wine dinners are one of my favorite things in the world and if given the opportunity to attend a wine dinner I will do anything in my power to make sure I am there.

Our story begins more than 50 years ago, when a celebrated American dancer named Rod Strong settled in Sonoma County to pursue a second lifelong creative passion: winemaking. Rodney Strong Vineyards was the 13th winery bonded in the newly discovered Sonoma County wine industry. A trio of winemaking paths crossed when Rick Sayre joined the team as Winemaker in 1979, and again when the Klein Family, 4th generation California farmers, purchased the winery in 1989 and initiated a renewed commitment of modern artisan winemaking. Through the years, Rodney Strong Vineyards has earned the reputation for critically acclaimed Single Vineyard and Reserve wines, stand out Estate releases and best-in-class Sonoma County varietal wines.

 

The evening began with a Passed Hors D’Oeuvre:

Chilled English Pea Puree
Crispy “Heritage Farms” Bacon Crumble
2012 Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County

Wine tasting notes:

Light, crisp, and highly aromatic, the warmer climate Alexander Valley fruit gives this wine ripe peach, tangerine, and pineapple character,while the ocean cooled Russian River Valley fruit offers citrus, lemon grass, and slightly herbaceous qualities.

I adored this soup.  And I was really surprised that Big Guy loved it, too.  The soup was crowned with a drizzle of olive oil and bacon that gave the peas a little more heartiness.

First course:

Delta Asparagus Salad
Crisped Bacon, White Truffle Aioli
2012 Estate Chardonnay, Chalk Hill

photo 1 (1)

Wine tasting notes:

Encouraging malolactic fermentation added additional character, and in the glass the wine is both creamy and crisp, with abundant fruit character, mineral, and toasty oak.

Another one of my favorite plates courses.  While the wine wasn’t necessarily my favorite, I understood the pairing.  The best part of this plate:  the white aioli.  Holy deliciousness.  I want that sauce with a plate of fries.  Please and thank you.

Second course:

Thumbelina Carrot and Maine Lobster Risotto
Arborio Rice, Fontina Val D’Asta, Fine herbs
2012 Estate Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

photo 3 (1)

Wine tasting notes:

Soft and silky, with intriguing rose petal and crushed pomegranate aromas, this medium bodied wine was aged for 10 months in small French oak barrels, which added a hint of toasty vanilla and spice complexity.

Creamy, delicious risotto.  The arborio rice was cooked to perfection.  The flavors were out of this world.  I’m not sure I’ve ever had a risotto quite like this.  And the wine was one of my favorites.

Quite possibly my favorite course of the evening.

Third Course:

Boneless Rack of Domestic Lamb
Great Northern Bean Puree, Fennel Compote, Oven Dried Tomato, Nicoise Olive Bordelaise
2011 Symmetry Meritage, Alexander Valley

photo 4

Wine tasting notes:

The 2010 Symmetry greets you with an opulent bouquet of blackberries, cassis and sweet spices which unfold on the palate with layers of black fruits, dark chocolate and spice.

The lamb was cooked perfectly.  I loved the addition of the fennel to this plate.  The sauce was decadent and paired perfectly with the wine.

Dessert:

Hillsborough Creamery’s “Sweet Ash”
Candied Pecans, Fig Jam, Port Reduction
2010 Alexander’s Crown Cabernet, Alexander’s Crown

photo 5

Wine Tasting Notes:

The Crown expresses Cabernet in an almost Bordeaux-like style, with ripe flavors centered on red fruit, soft tannins, and balanced acidity.

Pecans, fig and port – three of my favorite flavors.  I’ve had the opportunity to try this cheese several times and every single time it’s an experience.  The flavor is simply incredible.  The chef took a risk and paired a Deviled Quail egg with this course.  The egg was originally planned to go with the asparagus salad.  I applaud the Chef for making such a bold move but I think I would have preferred it with the salad course.  This particular wine was the most expensive of the night and worthy of a special occasion.

I cannot say enough things about this brilliant menu.  Every course made sense with the wine pairing.

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