Wine of the Week: 2015 Rodney Strong Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc
by Amy Reiley
When I first started drinking wine, my taste was extremely limited. I basically liked Champagne and Riesling. But then I visited Sonoma County with my parents. We didn’t do a lot of wine tasting on the trip; I couldn’t have been more than 21. But we wanted to taste the bubbly at J Wine Company and then we decided to walk next door and try the wines at Rodney Strong. That’s when I first discovered their Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc.
It’s not surprising that I discovered Sauvignon Blanc in Sonoma County. It is, in fact, the second most popular varietal produced in the popular California wine region. And it’s no wonder I liked it. Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc tends to be among the most approachable wine styles in the world. It is typically made with a balance of the Old Wold and New World styles. It has a lot of the freshness and juicy notes of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc without the herbaceous or grassy notes usually connected with Southern Hemisphere Sauvignon Blancs. It also hints at the high acid and sometimes the minerality of an Old World wine but with much more New World ripe fruit flavors.
Rodney Strong’s Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc does a great job of walking this line between Old World and New. For this piece I tasted the 2015 release, the wine currently available in many wine shops, although I noticed that the winery has just released the 2017. I find this wine to be incredibly consistent so the tasting notes should be fairly similar for the 2016 and 2017 as they are for the ’15.
What I love most about this Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc is the aroma. It’s like breathing in magical, tropical air filled with white flowers, passion fruit, lemongrass and honeydew. The grapes come from two regions of Sonoma County, both the Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley. The combination adds to the wine’s complexity and helps bring together the best of the county’s Sauvignon Blanc vineyards. It’s a Sauvignon Blanc that quenches thirst yet lingers fairly long on the palate with the essence of tropical fruit salad. It is not an exceptionally sophisticated wine but one that is suitable for many occasions from brunch to an after work toast, a picnic or a romantic seafood dinner. I’ve also been known to sneak a bottle into movies. It’s perfect for pairing with popcorn, M&M’s and romantic comedy.
It’s a wine I discovered at age 21 and one I’ve turned to on many occasions since. It’s one of my “safety” picks for summer. This is the wine I grab when I’m in a wine shop full of unfamiliar choices. And it’s one I know I can count on to please a crowd.
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