Rodney Strong, Alexander Valley (Sonoma County, California) Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2014

($45):  Unlike a Riserva in Italy, Reserve on a label on a California wine has no legal meaning.  A winery can, and sometimes does, label their entire production, all several million bottles, as “reserve.”  Not so with Rodney Strong.  In this case, the winemaker selects the best barrels in the cellar and blends them to create a Reserve bottling.  (Even though all the barrels contain wine made from Cabernet grapes, and even if from the same vineyard, the wine in each one tastes different.)  Their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is a lovely amalgam of herbal and cassis-like flavors wrapped in fine tannins.  No harshness or aggressiveness in this bottling.  Yes, it’s a big wine, but to their credit, it’s not overdone or boisterous.  It would be a choice for current drinking with robust beef dishes.
93 Michael Apstein Mar 6, 2018