RODNEY STRONG Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc Proves California Can Make Great Wines For Under $20

Estate Sauvignon Blanc

RODNEY STRONG northern Sonoma Place Matters. SONOMA COUNTY, CALIFORNIA 2013 SAUVIGNON BLANC ESTATE VINEYARDS WWW.RODNEY STRONG.COM © 2014 Rodney Strong Vineyards, Healdsburg, CA #RS4000071

THE STORY At Rodney Strong Vineyards is that they focus on modern artisan winemaking, exclusively from Sonoma County, California. Our family-owned winery is committed to quality wines and to protecting  resources for the future. They practice sustainable and Fish Friendly Farming and  are Sonoma County’s first carbon neutral winery. HISTORY Rod Strong established their heritage Sauvignon Blanc vineyard in 1971, naming it Charlotte’s Home in honor of his wife.

Today that vineyard remains the core of Charlotte’s Home Sauvignon Blanc, along with other select estate vineyards in the Alexander Valley as well as the Russian River Valley. THE VINEYARDS 2013 was the kind of growing season that most would wish they could have every year: a dry, frost-free spring, a warm summer without heat spikes, and a warm rain free autumn that allows for picking all varieties in their turn when they are perfectly mature.

This Sauvignon Blanc was harvested from vineyards in Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley between August 21st and September 17th. TASTING NOTES Light, crisp, and highly aromatic, the warmer climate Alexander Valley fruit gives this wine ripe peach, tangerine, and pineapple character, while the ocean cooled Russian River Valley fruit offers citrus, lemon grass, and slightly herbaceous qualities. Together, the two valleys make a classic Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc that is fresh, lively, and will drink beautifully over the next 1 to 2 years. Delicious to quaff, it supports seafood, chicken, creamy cheeses and nuts to perfection.


Copyright 2015 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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Oak Knoll 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay


100% Dion Vineyard
Dijon 76 clone
2011 growing season was one of the
wettest in Oregon wine history. Many
winemakers shot the gun early out
of nervousness that the rain may keep
coming. Jeff took the risk to let the
grapes hang a bit longer, he knew the
brix of sugar would not rise in the cold
temperature but had hopes that with
more hang time that flavors would
develop. His risk paid off, in early
November there was about a week of
dry weather and we hit the crush pad
full steam ahead. Flavors developed
nicely, we were even impressed with
the results after such a cool weather
Fermented in stainless steel tanks
and stainless steel barrels.
.81 g/100M
13% by volume
1,623 cases
Oak Knoll Winery is one of
Oregon’s oldest wineries,
producing fine wines since 1970.

Citrus aromas upfront with added notes of gooseberry and lemon zest.
Star fruit and pineapple at the close of the nose. Grapefruit opens in the
mouth with tropical notes mid-palate of passion fruit and more pineapple.
Nectarines and a touch of basil in the finish. Great with seafood, nuts a, goat cheese.

Copyright 2014 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.



LabelPinot Gris comes in many different styles. At J,it is crisp, with bright fruit expression, and a touch of minerality. As always, it begins in the vineyard. The myriad of Russian River Valley estate vineyards provide fruit that comes from well-drained soils rich in nutrients. J’s  viticulturist works with each vineyard site to ensure that the soil type, vine canopy selection, natural pest management, and timing for the harvest pick are all aligned with our Winemaker’s vision for handcrafting Pinot Gris that is perfectly balanced with acidity and fruit. Not a small accomplishment given the fruit’s complexity.

Similar to their Chardonnays, they whole-cluster press the grapes utilizing our Coquard press minimizing harsh components from the grape skins mingling with the juice. The wine is fermented and cooled slowly in stainless steel tanks at 55 degrees to preserve the fruit’s integrity. No malolactic fermentation occurs during this process. After fermentation, aging in the stainless steel tanks begins for several months prior to bottling.Pinot Gris Sign


Whole grape clusters were hand-harvested, and then pressed gently to minimize the extraction of harsh components from the skins and seeds. The wine from each appellation was broken into multiple lots and exposed to a variety of yeasts. The wine was fermented and cooled slowly in stainless steel tanks at 55 degrees to preserve the freshness of the fruit. There was no malolactic fermentation in this process.


After fermentation the lots were aged separately in stainless steel tanks. Once the wine lots naturally settled and clarified, they were blended together. This allowed the development of a range of aromatic and flavor components that ultimately melded to create a layered, complex wine.


This Pinot Gris has an enticing bouquet of Fuji apple, ripe cantaloupe, and apricot. The crisp, clean mouthfeel is bursting with flavors of lemon and lime. A hint of kiwi and sweet orange blossom honey on the palate complements the fruit and acid. The lingering finish invites you to relax and enjoy another taste. In fact, it is the perfect sipper when entertaining with friends. This layered and well-balanced wine is a great accompaniment to a variety of foods, from Japan and Mexico, to India and China, all accented with a variety of spices.

APPELLATION: Clarksburg 62%; Monterey 16%; RRV 12%; Napa 10%

HARVEST DATE: August 31 – October 2, 2011

WINE ALCOHOL: 13.8 % by volume

WINE ACID: 6.3 grams per liter

WINE PH: 3.36


PRODUCTION: 36,000 cases

BOTTLING DATE: March 20 – April 10, 2012


SRP: $15

Copyright 2013 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.



Dry Creek Vineyard Signature Wines 2010 Heritage Zinfandel

This wine was first released in 1997 as Heritage Clone Zinfandel. Using old vine
budwood grafted into a new vineyard, the Heritage bottling represents the best of
a young vine Zin with distinctive old vine characters.
The 2010 vintage may go down as one of the more difficult, challenging vintages of
the last decade. With varied growing conditions, it was incredibly important to stay
on top of the vineyard ensuring that the canopy was well managed. Late spring rains,
a cool summer and then several heat spikes before and during harvest added to the
challenge. However, our winemaking and vineyard team really came through, keeping a cool head and bringing in fruit that achieved full ripeness, flavor and balance.

The 2010 vintage of Heritage Zinfandel presents an excellent cool vintage aroma
profile of blueberry, red currants, earthy dustiness and mineral nuances. The low
alcohol nature of this wine shines through immediately with silky smooth tannins and
a firm grip of natural acidity and balance. The fruit is substantial with layers of black
cherry, mixed berries, currants and allspice. This Zinfandel is superbly balanced and
satisfying, repeating the earthy, mixed berry theme while also carrying forward subtler
hints of white and black pepper. The finish lingers on creating a mouth-watering
desire for another sip.

More Like a Bordeaux than a Rhone, here is a lovely dinner wine to enjoy with game, beef, pork and pasta.

SRP: $19

RELEASE DATE December 2012
BLEND 88% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah
HARVEST DATES September-October 2010
BRIX Average 24.8
Average 18 days in stainless steel fermenters; pumped over
twice daily during fermentation.
PH 3.75
TA 0.6g/100mL
14 months in French, American, and Hungarian oak;
15% new oak
Varies with a combination of gravelly loam and clay loam
on rolling hills to steep hillsides.
VINE AGE Average vine age is 30 years
YIELDS Averages 3 to 6 tons per acre


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Gustafson Family Vineyards 2009 Estate Petite Sirah

2009 Estate Petite Sirah

2009 Estate Petite SirahHarvest: October 12, 2009
Vineyard Block: East Ridge Block
Blend: 100% Petite Sirah
Aging:18 Months French and American Oak, 40% New
Alcohol: 14.38%
Total Production: 450 cases
Release Date: Fall 2011


Vineyard and Vintage Notes:
The 2009 vintage marked the beginning of a new challenge for the vineyard. A cold and wet spring delayed the onset of bud break in many of our vineyards, and these conditions necessitated a later than normal harvest for our Petite Sirah. The extended hang time brought us precariously close to winter rains, but allowed for full development of flavors and an opportunity to harvest at optimum physical maturity.

Winemaking Notes:
Petite Sirah grapes create a dreamy opportunity for winemakers, with steady, low heat fermentations that always seem to finish easily and at moderate alcohols. This wine was no exception, a near perfect fermentation created a clean expression of fruit and tannin. These pure flavors allowed us to experiment with different levels of toasting in the barrel ageing process; by utilizing a slightly higher amount of heavy toasted oak, the tannins were rounded and softened to create a unique expression of our vineyard.

Tasting Notes:
Rich, deep purple in the glass, with aromas of lavender and dark fruit balanced by meaty, earthy undertones. This wine bucks the stereotype of Petite Sirah being all finish and no flavor, and really begins to shine after an hour of decanting, revealing luscious aromas of fruit, cocoa, tobacco and a hint of molasses. The finish is strong but not abrupt, giving you the desired “oomph” of a Petite Sirah without being dry or abrasive. A truly delicious wine that will only get better with time.

The perfect dinner wine. We loved this elegant, food friendly P.S. with roasts, pasta, cheese and just about anything. A real surprise.

SRP: $32


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


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J Vineyards Sets The Standard For California’s Finest Sparkling Wines.


While no one can deny the fact that only France truly claims the right to call sparkling wines, grown in the Champagne district Champagne, sparklers around the world can be a viable alternative and in some cases, compete with their French cousins.

Such is the case of the following two from J Vineyards and Winery. Truth be told, the 2003 Late Disgorged Vintage Brut deserves mention with the finest Sparkling Wines California makes. Subtle, elegant, attention grabbing and gorgeous, it is worth its $90 price tag and would be a jewel in the crown of any New Years celebration.

The 2005 is not to be neglected. It too is a superb example is this vineyard’s class act at about half the cost.

Both can be ordered from the J Website by clicking here.

2003 J Vintage Brut, LD
The vineyards

The 2003 Russian River Valley growing season was a bit of a rollercoaster. Warm periods turned to weeks of cool fog, and a damp April gave way to a warm May. The late spring bloom pushed the harvest into September, which was a few weeks later than normal. Overall there was a favorable yield of grapes, proving once again that the Russian River Valley is exceptional terroir for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


All of the grapes were hand-harvested into small quarter-ton bins and placed as whole clusters, without de-stemming, into our special Coquard press for a gentle pressing. The juice was fermented and kept separately until the final blending decision, which took place in November. The cuvée (blend) was assembled the next month, cold stabilized to remove excess tartrates, and then bottled in July of 2004.


After the secondary fermentation occurred in the bottle, the wine was aged on tiragefor seven years in our cellars. In early 2012, the wine was carefully riddled to remove the yeast sediment. Following disgorging, a dosage of oak-aged reserve wine was added to balance acidity. An additional five months of aging on the cork was added before release.

Tasting Notes

The 2003 J Late Disgorged Vintage Brut exhibits an enticing array of aromas, including toasted almond, citrus, caramel, and baked bread. A sophisticated mélange of pear and lime notes follow savory lemon and delicate cinnamon flavors. This wine is perfect for a Sunday brunch that might include strawberries with Meyer lemon curd and Cow Girl Creamery Red Hawk triple-cream cheese lightly spread over toasted cracked wheat bread.

APPELLATION:Russian River Valley

HARVEST DATE:August 21 – September 4, 2003

WINE ALCOHOL:12.5% by volume

WINE ACID:8.3 grams per liter

WINE pH:3.14


FINAL BLEND:49% Pinot Noir, 49 % Chardonnay, 2% Pinot Meunier


SRP: $90

2005 J Vintage Brut
The vineyards

The 2005 Russian River Valley growing season was cooler than average, though July was a bit warmer. The cool weather delayed the sparkling wine harvest to mid-August, and a spike in temperatures gently pushed the grapes to their proper balance of pH and acidity.


All of the grapes were hand-harvested into small quarter-ton bins and placed as whole clusters, without de-stemming, into our special Coquard press for a gentle pressing. The juice was fermented and kept separately until the final blending decision, which took place in November. The cuvée was assembled the next month, cold stabilized to remove excess tartrates, then bottled in May of 2006.


After the secondary fermentation occurred in the bottle, the
wine was aged on tirage for nearly five years in our cellars. In early October 2011, the wine was carefully riddled to remove the yeast sediment. Following disgorging, a dosage of barrel-aged reserve wine was added for balance. An additional three months of aging on the cork was added before release.

Tasting Notes

Tasting Notes by Winemaker Melissa Stackhouse
I love the fine, persistent bubbles in this Vintage Brut. The 2005 vintage features luscious aromas of ripe citrus, pear, and honeysuckle. A noticeable yeasty brioche and butterscotch aroma lures you in for the first sip. Slight toasted almond characters add to the layers in the mouth with pear, taffy apple, and citrus flavors. An excellent balance of toast and rich fruit flavors is the hallmark of this vintage brut. It is the perfect apéritif or first-course accompaniment to a potato leek purée drizzled over curly endive with a dash of truffled caviar.

APPELLATION:Russian River Valley

HARVEST DATE:August 15 – September 16, 2005

FINAL BLEND:54% Chardonnay, 43% Pinot Noir, 3% Pinot Meunier

SRP: $48


Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


3 For The Road: RIVER ROAD FAMILY VINEYARDS AND WINERY Bring Value and Quality To The Holidays


river road sonoma

River Road Family Vineyards and Winery Adding Incredible Value to Your Russian River Valley Options

River Road Family Vineyards and Winery is a small-production wine
company, located in Russian River Valley’s sub appellation of Green Valley. They offer a tremendous value experience through our commitment to producing wines of the highest  quality, yet offering them to the public at the most affordable of prices.

For Example:

2011 Un-Oaked Chardonnay Sonoma County ~ $13.99 SRP
2011 Reserve Chardonnay Sonoma County ~ $18.99 SRP
2011 Reserve Pinot Noir Sonoma County ~ $18.99 SRP

Cool Green Valley climate in Russian River Valley is known for producing expressive,
fruit-forward wines that capture the unique personality of each variety. River Road
Family Vineyards and Winery offers distinctive wine styles, and embodies the character and versatility of each region and vineyard.

2011 Un-Oaked Chardonnay Sonoma County ~ 100 percent stainless steel
fermented, this Sonoma County Chardonnay is a classic everyday Chard.
Well balanced, it offers light, exciting, and refreshing fruit flavors of tart
apples and lemons.

We are fans of the Un-Oaked style and this is  a charmer.

2011 Reserve Chardonnay Sonoma County ~ A delicate, caramel-apple
nose has this reserve, barrel selection bringing forward the most appealing
characteristics of Chardonnay. With its bold and balanced peach and
toasty flavors with almond notes,

The balance is the secret. Excellent!

2011 Reserve Pinot Noir Sonoma County ~ Handcrafted from vine to
wine, this vibrant Reserve Pinot Noir has a beautiful depth of color.
Aromas and flavors of strawberry, Bing cherries, and luscious plums are
enjoyed on the mid-palate, with a lingering finish, suggestive of mulling
spices, anise, and molasses.

Not your standard Pinot Noir. Real elegance. Love it with turkey.

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.


Vina Robles Sets The Right Price Point For California Class-Act Petite Sirah


vina robles VR_BtlShot_09_PetitSirah_Estate_size_1

The Wine

$26 suggested retail, here is a wine that drinks like “over $50” and (with some breathing) is ready to enjoy with meats, game, chicken, cheese and fancy meals, as well as a hearty pasta or meatloaf.

The grapes for this vintage were hand picked and sorted for quality in the vineyard. The fruit was fermented in small stainless steel tanks and bins. Over four days, the must was allowed to “cold soak” to extract color and flavor prior to the start of fermentation. Pumpovers and punch-downs took place frequently over a ten-day period before the juice was pressed off and transferred to French oak barrels (40% new) to complete malolactic fermentation.

The final blend was chosen after numerous tasting sessions. The Jardine Petite Sirah contributes dense, dark fruit with great tannin structure. The Creston Valley Vineyard adds touches of minerality, while Huerhuero adds dark color, fresh berry aromas and spicy characteristics. A percentage of Syrah from Cammatta Hills brings flesh and body to the blend. Together, they create a wine displaying complexity, structure and balance.
Enjoy now through 2016.

Tasting Notes
  • Color: Opaque garnet
  • Aroma: Spicy, black fruit with notes of nutmeg
  • Taste: A full-bodied, balanced wine with notes of fresh plum and firm tannins

Check out the website here

Copyright 2012 By Punchin International. All Rights Reserved.