Soft and rich, with layers of red cherry, raspberry, cola, caramel, and a hint of Asian spice, this impressive, full-bodied wine is aged in 100% French oak, which adds an elegant toasty vanilla character. Enjoy this voluptuous Rodney Strong Reserve Pinot Noir now and over the next 2 to 4 years.
The Russian River Valley is well established as one of the premier Pinot Noir growing regions in the world, and we have been growing and making pinot noir here for forty years. The Reserve is the winemaker’s artisanal blend of individual wines made from time tested meticulously farmed sections of some of the very best vineyards in Russian River Valley. Each lot is vinified separately, aged in our finest barrels, and then selected by the winemakers for complexity, concentration, and grace. It is literally a matter of taste.
Gary Patzwald’s wine career spawned from seeds planted when he worked for his father who owned a retail wine and beer shop in Wisconsin. Initially, Gary went to college and studied Pharmaceuticals but, having walked the vineyards of wine and hop fields of beer, Gary realized his interest lay in a science that would also allow him to spend time outdoors. He quickly enrolled at U.C. Davis and received his Bachelor of Science Degree in Fermentation Science in 1979.
After graduating from college, Gary moved back to Wisconsin and worked for a short time in the brew house at a local brewery. While there, a friend encouraged him to think about a career in wine and soon after, Gary moved to Napa and began his winemaking career at Conn Creek Winery. As assistant winemaker and cellarmaster he enthusiastically immersed himself in his craft. Eventually, Gary accepted a winemaking position at Chateau de Baun, then spent a few years on the East Coast working for Palmer Vineyards and Lenz Vineyards. In 1991 he returned to California and this time, to Sonoma County where he spent eleven years at Kendall Jackson Wine Estates, with his final appointment being Winemaker at Matanzas Creek Winery.
Gary joined the winemaking team at Rodney Strong Vineyards in May of 2005 and is involved in all aspects of production. He works closely with long-time Winemaker, Rick Sayre and Director of Vineyard Operations, Doug McIlroy. “The quality of the vineyards that we have to work with is outstanding and I feel inspired to make wines that will express that.” he explains.
Rick Sayre began his winemaking career in 1970 at the age of 19 as assistant winemaker and cellar master at Simi Winery in Sonoma County. He joined Rodney Strong Vineyards in 1979 and since has been responsible for winemaking for the Winery’s Sonoma County, Estate, and Reserve wines.
As a practitioner of handcrafted wines, Rick is involved in all aspects of winemaking from vineyard management through final blending. In 1991, his hands-on approach paid off as Wine & Spirits Magazine named him “Chardonnay Winemaker of the Year”. Again, in 1999 Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences named him “Winemaker of the Year”.
Rick’s education in winemaking began in the 1970s under the direction of the world-renowned winemaster, Andre Tchelistcheff. It is to Tchelistcheff that he attributes his passion for the art and his desire to master the craft. Always a perfectionist with an eye for detail, Rick continues to apply these traits to making the fine wine of Rodney Strong Vineyards. “It’s so important to be aware of everything,” he says. “Andre taught me that a winemaker must live with his wine, from walking the vineyards, to the careful craft of guiding the wine into bottle. Even the smallest details can have an effect.”
Rick has expanded his winemaking expertise with several trips to France, where he studied the interplay of oak and wine. His voracious appetite for knowledge in winemaking from around the world also inspired journeys to Australia, New Zealand and Spain.
After visiting many of the French cooperage houses, he decided to bring their barrel toasting techniques back to the States and became the first winemaker in California to install an in-house cooperage, specializing in toasting of American oak barrels. In recent years, Rick has worked closely with World Cooperage, a renown American cooperage company, in an effort to perfect the American oak barrel for winemaking.
Since his arrival at Rodney Strong Vineyards, Rick has been instrumental in bringing worldwide notoriety to the Winery’s Estate wines. Alexander’s Crown Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and Chalk Hill Vineyard Chardonnay have set standards of Sonoma County winemaking, and have become favorites to consumers all over the United States.