Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Symmetry Vertical Tasting and Blend-O-Rama

On October 21st I had the opportunity to taste three past vintages of Rodney Strong’s Symmetry Red Meritage, 2004, 2005, 2006 (past), plus the 2007 (current), and the 2008 (pre-release). The event took place at Jackson’s Bar & Oven in Santa Rosa and was hosted by Robert Larsen of Rodney Strong. It turned out to be a seriously fun evening with some seriously nice wines

We began with the vertical tasting of Rodney Strong Symmetry Meritage. My favorites were the 2007 and the 2005.

Winemaker Rick Sayre spoke to us about the challenges and rewards of higher elevation fruit, and how over time, the Meritage blend has changed to include Malbec and Petit Verdot in the mix. Rick also spoke about tannin management with mountain fruit, and noted that Meritage from high elevation vineyards can be a tannin monster if not carefully blended.

The 2007 was peppery with balanced tannins and a deep garnet color. As Rick mentioned, this wine has many years of happy cellaring ahead of it, but I’m impatient and like the way it’s drinking now. My other favorite, the 2005, had a rich dark cherry and plums on the palate and I found it to have stronger tannins than the 2007.

Next we got to engage in one of my favorite wine activities—blending. The last time I blended was at Conn Creek Blending AVA Room and we made full bottles. This time our task was to blend the perfect glass.

Each table competed in teams, first we made our own individual blend and then we selected one blend from the table to move on into the final judging. My table, Team Tannin included @winebratsf @sharayray & @20dollarwine -- and if you know them, you know that spells trouble for our table already. Moving on….

It’s fun to sample the wines and decide what will make the best concoction. It's a great way to learn about each varietal and how they can add a different dimension to a blend. I love the blending part, but the backwards math converting of millimeters part… not so much. This time I cheated a bit and just used the big beaker to measure right off and that made the whole process easier and less messy too.
But the problem I encountered was that I kept losing track of what glass I was blending in. I really needed a grease pencil to mark the blending glass. Instead it all devolved in to a “Where’s Waldo” of blending.

Eventually I got it together and my blend {40% Cab Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Petite Verdot, 5% Cab Franc & 15% Malbec} moved to the finals. But I could tell from the wince on Ricks face when he tasted my “Fox Force Five” blend that it was a bit too tanninlicious for his taste.
The ultimate honor of top blend went to wine writer Tim Teichgraeber. Well done Tim.

Afterwards we adjourned to the bar downstairs for dinner and to watch baseball on the big screen.
They have a great menu at Jackson’s, but their fancy hotdog seemed an appropriate choice given the baseball and all. Plus it paired perfectly with the 2007 Rodney Strong Reserve RRV Pinot, which had a beautiful lavender nose and a lush, balanced peppery hit that knocked it out of the park for me.

Big thanks to Robert Larsen and Rodney Strong for hosting the event and to Rick Sayer for taking time out from his busy harvest schedule to join us.

1 comment:

  1. Fun time, Marcy. Glad you could join us. Thanks! Robert



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