The Russian River Valley is famous for its great wines and, like other notable regions in California wine country, the unique climates and soils that make grape growing so fascinating and rewarding for the vineyards located here. Years ago on an amazing summer vacation, my wife and I learned that it’s the cool evenings and perfect year-round weather that make for effective growing seasons and the maturity of the grapes in this part of the country. The Rodney Strong Vineyards is one such beneficiary, and those of us who sample its work from time to time are winners as well.
Even though we had a great Pinot Noir already open and beckoning, we vaulted this 2011 to the head of the class to accompany our Sunday dinner. Our pork tenderloin, sliced into heavenly slabs each about an inch thick, had basked all afternoon in a great marinade of olive oil, basil, garlic, and lemon juice, and was grilled (thermometer-aided) to a tender finish. Accompanying this was a delicious medley of Israeli couscous and quinoa that my mother magicked up with some roasted red pepper, feta cheese, calamatta olives, cucumbers, and white balsamic vinegar–as well as the Rodney Strong Estate Pinot Noir 2011.
Here’s the rundown from the winemakers at Strong: “Soft and silky, with intriguing floral and crushed pomegranate aromas, this medium-bodied wine was aged for nine months in small, French oak barrels which added a hint of toasty vanilla and spice complexity. Ideal for current enjoyment, this Pinot Noir will age nicely over the next two to four years.”
If you read NotesOfNote with any regularity, you know that vanilla notes doesn’t usually play too highly in this house. This scent is more locked away in the 2011 Pinot Noir from Rodney Strong, though, and I don’t think I would even have noticed if not for the prompt from the winemaker. I think that’s a good thing but try it for yourself and see if you agree.