This Thanksgiving, consider inviting a new guest. The Klein family may not be able to join you for turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce, but their Sonoma County, Calif., wines—including Davis Bynum Winery and Rodney Strong Vineyards—would be a welcomed addition to your gathering.
Says sales rep Mitch Preston of Rodney Strong Wine Estates, “Sonoma County has some of the most diverse wine-growing regions in the world.” Here, pinot and chardonnay gain complexity and style as a result of a slower ripening in the cooler Russian River Valley, while zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon and merlot hang on the vine a few weeks longer than most California growing areas in the warmer Dry Creek and Alexander Valley. The resulting wines are rich, fleshy and full-bodied.
“The Kleins are a fourth-generation California farm family that purchased Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1989,” Preston says. Since that time, the Kleins have pursued the best vineyard sites in Sonoma County, including Davis Bynum, and now have 14 Estate Vineyard sites that comprise nearly 1,000 acres of planted vineyards. “Site trumps everything,” Preston says.
Mitch Preston’s Picks
2008 Davis Bynum Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, $30
Davis Bynum Pinot Noir in particular has a deep black cherry, cola-berry initial flavor with brown baking spice flavors—cinnamon, all spice—through the mid-palate. Toasty oak and soft tannins linger through the finish. It’s not a heavy wine nor does it have the aggressive tannins that will interfere with lighter/medium types of food.
2008 Rodney Strong Vineyards Knotty Vines Zinfandel, $22
Zinfandel is uniquely American, just like the Thanksgiving holiday. This wine will have more depth and complexity than pinot noir usually exhibits. It offers more blueberry, raspberry, jammy flavors with a note of peppery spiciness throughout the mid-palate and finishes with silky tannins that linger on the palate a bit longer.
2007 Rodney Strong Vineyards Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay, $40
This is a very complex white wine that initially starts with flavors of baked red delicious apples and toasted hazelnuts. The mid-palate has good weight and viscosity, and there are hints of butterscotch and vanilla that lead to firm citrus acidity on the finish. Since turkey tends to be a little dry, this wine will liven up your taste buds and ready your palate for the next fork of turkey!