Friday, February 16, 2007

Rodney Strong Alexander's Crown Cabernet

This Valentine's Day proved a challenge for me. I wanted to make a romantic dinner for my sweetie, but am in the middle of a kitchen renovation and have no working kitchen. All I've got is a microwave and a toaster oven (and a fridge). Plus, Valentine's Day happened to fall on a snow storm day, so I wasn't able to get out for any ingredients -- I had to make do with what was around... which wasn't much. To make a long story short, I managed to whip up a fairly reasonable vegetarian dinner consisting of an appetizer of marinated artichoke hearts with lemons and olives, and a main dish of vegetarian barbeque riblets served over rice pilaf. I'm not going to tell the secret of how I managed this... but if you want to learn more about riblets, you can visit my other website -, and look under "product reviews."

The one thing that I could easily do right was to serve a great wine. We chose to drink one of the wines that we'd picked up during our Sonoma Vacation in the summer of 2006. It was a Rodney Strong Alexander's Crown Single Vineyard Cabernet - 2002. First off let me note that the Rodney Strong winery had one of the best tasting rooms that we visited -- elegant, attractive, and staffed with friendly, knowledgeable people. The wines were excellent. We discovered that the Rodney Strong wines that are commonly available in New York are actually the least impressive of the bunch. The better ones are not commonly available on the East Coast. The Alexander's Crown Cabernet is a $30 bottle of wine -- but one that's worth it. It's a dry, assertive but not overpowering wine. I call it a very "grownup" cabernet. It was not at all fruity, but was smooth and rich with an earthy tone. This was a special wine -- worthy of Valentine's Day. Not your everyday wine. Highly recommended!!

If you travel to Sonoma at some point, try to get the time to visit the Rodney Strong Vineyard. The gallery around the tasting room offers large windows that give panoramic views of the winemaking below. And don't forget to bring home some of those tasting room only wines. You'll regret it if you don't.