This classic California red wine from a well-known producer hits all the right notes. Rodney Strong’s 2018 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has good complexity, is drinking well in its youth, and, at around $28, hits a sweet spot in terms of price.
The wine is from grapes grown in four estate vineyards in Alexander Valley, an inland area in northeast Sonoma County where alluvial gravel soils and a warm climate make the terroir perfect for Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Rodney Strong’s Cabernet has texture and balance, showing ripe and concentrated fruit supported by a medium-firm tannic structure. This adds up to a wine of elegance and depth. Aromas of red fruit and baking spices give way to dark fruits on the palate, including black cherry, plum, and cassis. There’s a nice cinnamon note, along with hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, and herbs.
The wine received 24 months of aging in French oak barrels — half of which were from new oak, which imparts stronger tastes than previously used barrels.
This is a quintessential meat wine — grilled skirt steaks, lamb, and pork chops are just a few of the possibilities that come to mind. Try it as well with grilled or caramelized vegetables.
Rodney Strong is a large, family-owned winery that goes back to 1959, offering a broad range of wines at all price points across five brand names — including 15 Cabernet Sauvignons from $15 to $150. The 2018 Alexander Valley Cabernet, which you’ll find for as low as $20 on Wine-Searcher, is among the best-value California Cabs currently available.