I was surprised and delighted to see a set of wines from Rodney Strong arrive the other day. I used to buy this family-owned winery’s juice in considerable volumes as the National Wine Director of Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group, and I have always felt the wines represented good value for the money.

So with impatience, I placed the wines in the fridge and managed to keep my tastebuds off them for a few days. When a thrashing of sunshine hit NYC on Saturday, I lunged to for the bottles. I was eager to welcome spring here – at last – with wines that looked perfect to usher in this fledgling season after a mild but protracted winter.

89
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 12.5%
Bright, baby girl pink, this wine is scented with tangerine peel and rosebuds. The palate is elegant and medium-bodied yet showing juicy red berry fruits of lingonberries, raspberries and strawberries along with a whisper of crunchy rhubarb. The dry, racy and lingering finish shows some attractively high-toned white pepper spice. The lilting acidity pairs perfectly with the lightly creamy mid-palate. I’d take this over dozens of Provençal rosés pretending to be minerally – but really having little flavor – on absolutely any day!
Drink: Through 2018

86
Rodney Strong Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc Charlotte’s Home Northern Sonoma 13.5%
Almost water white in color with a pale yellow core, this wine’s appearance seems to define “discreet”. Its nose follows this lead, and it’s surprisingly restrained for the charasmatic Sauvignon Blanc variety. Its nose eeks out some star fruit overtures, which transfer to the palate with peachy tones and a custardy palate feel. This is a highly reserved Sauvignon Blanc with a drizzle-soft texture, a finessed and medium acidity and a lychee and quince flavored pâte de fruits (those jellied, French fruit squares) finish. This wine is composed of a triumvirate of Sonoma fruit sourced from Russian River, Alexander and Dry Creek Valleys.
Drink: Through 2018