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Copyright © 2016
by Fred McMillin
"I put the glass to my lips and drank. Then came the thunderclap, the drum roll. The glorious wine jolted me like nothing I had experienced before...I'll never forget that velvety, rich, explosive flavor."
...(Anthony Dias Blue, American Wine, 1985)
The Rest of the Story
Those words describe just the way I felt last night as I took the first sip of today's selection. It was the initial Rodney Strong Meritage, that is, a blend of California-grown Bordeaux varietals. The thunderclap and drum roll were produced by winemaker Rick Sayre. Who is he, (pictured), and what varietals did he pick?
The University of Tchelistcheff
At the tender age of 19, Rick was corking bottles by hand, weighing trucks bringing in grapes at harvest time, and paying particular attention to the Simi Winery winemaker. and with good reason. For six years he was directed by the great California winemaker, André Tchelistcheff; that is why he says he's a grad of the U. Of Tchelistcheff.
He's now seen 29 Sonoma County vintages, and picked up various awards, including "Chardonnay Winemaker of the Year" by Wine & Spirits magazine. Based on several trips to France, he was the first California winemaker to toast barrels at the winery to better control the oak flavors in his wines. But what varieties to use in the first Meritage?
Then there was the oak selection. He used:
So, here is our...
Wine of the Day
1996 Symmetry Red Table Wine, Rodney Strong Vineyards
Eight years ago I conducted a tasting of his wines with Rodney Strong. I learned a lot from him.
Example—In the mid-1970s there was a fine wine tasting room on Union St. five blocks from my San Francisco home. He said, "So you were tasting my wines long ago. Our label was Windsor Vineyards, and that was our tasting room!" My notes say his Cabernet was already looking very promising.
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This page created August 2000