LCBO Sale Wine of the Week: December 15

Rodney Strong 2014 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir (Sonoma County, California)

Sale $22.95, Regular $25.95
Discount (until Jan. 1): $3.00
LCBO #954834 | 750 mL bottle

Tastes like: Dry and fruity black berries, sweet spice and soft tobacco/leather.
Pairs with: Roast birds, grilled salmon, pork of all sorts, and mushrooms.
Good for: Sipping or dining. A soft wine that’s easy to enjoy, but rewards a nice meal.
Alcohol: 14.5%
Drink: Now to 2018.

Why we're drinking this
Sometimes it makes sense to buy wine based on the region it comes from. In this case, the Russian River Valley in California’s Sonoma County. Pinot thrives here — or more correctly, is adequately stressed by the cool sea breeze and the alluvial clay-loam soils to get to a pretty happy state of being. This wine is quite assuredly Californian, with ripe almost sweet fruit, elevated alcohol (14.5%) and ripe, soft tannins. You won’t mistake it for a Burgundy, but that’s not the point. This is a well-made, balanced and delicious wine in a New World style. Strong was the first to plant Pinot here in 1968, so he knows what he’s talking about.

Tasting note
Lovely perfume of black cherry, dark berries, sweet spice and hint of soft leather and tobacco. A joy to sniff. This is a soft Pinot that does not descend into the realm of those confected and vaguely gothic Californian wines that have become surprisingly popular (yech). It’s dry and fruity, well poised and not at all flabby, even given its big alcohol. Smooth and velvety on the palate, soft in tannins and generous with its fruit. A very likeable wine that deserves some scrutiny. It’s a Pinot that would appeal to those who find some Burgundies too light, but still appreciate a leaner style. Try it with roast bird (hello turkey!), grilled salmon or anything with mushrooms. A herby pork would be nice too.

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