RodneyStrong-Wines-1050X550px
RodneyStrong-Wines-1050X550px

Wine & Food Pairings With Rodney Strong

March 5, 2015 -

At Carrabba’s, we cherish wine and the impact it can have on a meal, an occasion and all of life’s moments overall. We’re always eager to take the opportunity to discuss wine varietals in a way that can be appreciated by all of our customers, whether they are wine novices or wine buffs.

Today, I’d like to talk to you about three Rodney Strong wines – Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. All three of these wines have delicious taste profiles that pair great with some of our menu items.

But first a little background on Rodney Strong. Rodney Strong Vineyards was founded by Rod Strong who began his career as a professional dancer. He danced in Paris for four years, spending his spare time visiting wineries. When he came back to the United States, he began performing on Broadway with his dance partner and wife, Charlotte. As the years went by, he came to the realization the he “could not be an old dancer, but he could be an old winemaker.” He and his wife then packed up their belongings and headed to Sonoma County, California where they founded Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1959. Today Rodney Strong proudly farms 14 estate vineyards and is family-owned by the Klein family, who are 4th generation California farmers. In 2013, Rodney Strong was named Wine Enthusiast’s American Winery of the Year.

Now with all that information under your belt, let’s get into the wines.

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County:
This wine is sourced from three of Rodney Strong’s vineyards in Sonoma County – Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Knights Valley. It has a deep, saturated color that leads to lifted aromas of blackberry, cocoa and herby cluck-currant (a small dried grape), which is followed by a rich, layered mouthfeel loaded with juicy black cherry, cedar and crème de cassis, which is a sweet, dark red liqueur made from blackcurrants. If you’re not familiar with the term mouthfeel, it describes the sensation of wine texture in the mouth. This Cab’s mouthfeel is also elegantly structured with fresh acidity and ripe, mature tannins that give the wine some dryness.

Awards:

  • Gold Medal & 93 Points, Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition, September 2014, 2012 Vintage (Wine points are on a scale of 50 – 100 with 93 being an Outstanding grade, meaning the wine is of superior character and style. For more information on points, please visit Wine Spectator.)
  • Platinum Medal, Monterey Wine Competition, March 2014, 2011 Vintage
  • Gold Medal, San Diego International Wine Competition, April 2014, 2011 Vintage
Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

Rodney Strong Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

Pairing Suggestion:

Appetizers: Chicken Bacon Sundried Tomato Flatbread, Meatball and Ricotta Flatbread, Mozzarella Marinara or Arancini

Entrees: Sirloin Marsala, Veal Marsala, Pork Chop Marsala, Grilled Tuscan Skewers, Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Filet Florentina or Lobster Ravioli

Sirloin Marsala & Lobster Ravioli

Sirloin Marsala & Lobster Ravioli

Rodney Strong Merlot, Sonoma County
This wine also hails from the Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley and Knights Valley vineyards. It’s a soft, rich and mouth filling Merlot with plum and blueberry flavors, plus a touch of dried herb predominate. The luscious dark fruit flavors are enhanced by aging in small French and American oak barrels for a toasty, spicy vanilla character and a lingering berry-cream finish.

Awards:

  • Gold Medal, San Diego International Wine Competition, April 2014, 2011 Vintage
  • Gold Medal, Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition, September 2014, 2011 Vintage
Rodney Strong Merlot, Sonoma County

Rodney Strong Merlot, Sonoma County

Pairing Suggestions:

Appetizers: Bruschette Paolo, Chicken Bacon Sundried Tomato Flatbread, Meatball and Ricotta Flatbread, Mozzarella Marinara or Arancini

Entrees: Prosciutto-Wrapped Pork Tenderloin, Carnevale Pizza, Pollo Sorrento, Pollo Rosa Maria or Chicken Marsala

Bruschette Paolo

Bruschette Paolo

Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Sonoma County
This wine was sourced from Rodney Strong’s Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast vineyards. About 60% of it was barrel fermented and then aged for six months, offering it a touch of brown spice and vanilla. The remainder was fermented cold to maximize a fresh fruit-forward character: bright lemon and apple aromas mingle with hints of toasty barrel complexity, while on the palate there are aromas of pear and pineapple with spice and a refreshing acidity.

Awards:

  • 90 Points & Gold, Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition, September 2014, 2012 Vintage
  • 89 Points, Wine Enthusiast, October 2014, 2012 Vintage
  • Gold Medal, Winemaker Challenge, February 2014, 2012 Vintage
Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Sonoma County

Rodney Strong Chardonnay, Sonoma County

Pairing Suggestions:

Appetizers: Shrimp Diavolo, Tomato Caprese, Brick-Oven Baked Fontina Bruschette or Cozze in Bianco

Entrees: Spiedino di Mare, Mahi Wulfe, Wood-Grilled Salmon, Johnny Rocco Salad, Chicken Bryan, Lobster Mac & Cheese or Fettuccine Carrabba

Johnny Rocco Salad

Johnny Rocco Salad

Now that you’ve learned about each of these wines, which one do you think you’ll try first? To see what other customers thought of these pairings, please check out our #RSWineDinner Tagboard. For more information about Rodney Strong wines, please visit their website.

Salute!