Who can forget, the Rockaway Scandel of 2008, where bloggers around the country were courted sent bottles of the Rockaway Cabernet Sauvignon by Rodney Strong. Now, I wasn’t part of the original Rockaway 10, or however many it was, but some of you might recall that the big bruhaha was becuase of a misunderstood condition that all bloggers must write something in return for the sample bottle of wine. Again, I wasn’t participating at that time, but I do think that a huge mountain was made out of a molehill. Yes kids, that’s my opinion, please don’t string me up for it. Fast forward to 2009, when I have become one of the cool kids and was asked to play kickball at recess, in the form of my very own bottle of 2006 Rockaway Cabernet! To be clear, no one asked me, cajoled me, or otherwise insisted that I write this piece.
This luxury cab comes from Alexander Valley in Northern Sonoma country, where there is an interesting mix of old school zins and high end cabs planted. I was really excited to try this wine after all the conversation, and opened it up. The 2006 Rodney Strong Rockaway cabernet Sauvignon Single Vineyard is 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% malbec, and 1% Petite Verdot, which spent 22 months in 47% new French oak barrels. Rockaway is planeted primarily to Cab and Merlot, but includes all af the major Bordeaux varietals. The vineyard is belanted between 250-750 feet, which provides a variety of microclimates.
to further my experience, I also decided to take advantage of an Eisch Breatheable glass that was sent to me as a press sample. The Eisch Breatheable Glass claims that with it’s patented breathable technology that you will have the same effect leaving the wine in their glass for 2-4 minutes, as you would in a decanter for 1-2 hours. Now, I was skeptical, but what the heck. To control the experiment, I also used a Riedel Bordeaux glass, as well as a “standard” glass, aka a regular tasting room glass.
The first sip was in the Eisch, and I found dark cherries, leather, and notes of ceder on the nose. on the Palate I tasted mocha, chocolate, coffee, molasses, smoke, and it was rich and elegant. The first impression was that it was a bit young, but that’s not surprising given that it’s only a 2006. The tannins were very mellow, and this was smooth. It was elegantly bold with firm backbone, and the dried cherries from teh aroma made their way in to the palate with a finish of bittersweet chocolate. There was a touch of soy sauce in there as well, with big blackberry pie flavors. I really enjoyed this wine right out of the glass, with no decanting.
In the Riedel Bordeaux glass, I had a hard time getting the nose. Again, this wine did not decant, and was only in the glass about 4 minutes before I tasted it. At first, I got a slight whiff of alcohol, followed by bright red fruit. I tasted bright red fruit, cranberries and pomegranate with a touch of bitterness on the finish that I wasnt’ expecting from teh previous taste. I went back to taste out of the Riedel after about 30 minutes and I still tasted that bitterness. This was not a good outcome, surprisingly.
In the standard glass, I smelled brandied cherries, sour plums, and something slightly off at the first whiff. I tasted soy sauce and underdone meat, with a bitter note again. After 30 minutes, the funk had gone away, but ti was still very astringent and not so enjoyable without food. It tasted very much like the wine in the Riedel but after 30 mins – 1 hr i couldn’t tell the difference.
After a full hour, the Eisch sample was full bodied, focused, and full of dark fruit, coffee, leather, figs and burnt toast. At this point the Ridel was starting to match the Eisch, and was opening up to all black fruit, figs, burnt toast, and smoke. I didn’t like the wine in the standard glass at all, and I would avoid it if were served in that glass. After one hour and fifteen minutes, there is no difference between the Eisch and the Reidel so for impatient drinkers it’s awesome
The moral of this story is two fold:
- Glassware matters! I’ve always believed this, and force my friends and family to do mad scientist experiements to prove this point. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on good stemware, but it does make a difference.
- The Rockaway is a beautiful wine, but it needs a good hour of decanting to enjoy properly.
- You would probably enjoy this wine more with food.
- The Eisch Breatheable Glass is an excelletn idea that works far better tahn I anticipated. if you are a drinker that is in a hurry the $20 per stem price tag is well worth it.
Rockaway is an allocation only wine, but I would suggest that you get on the list if you are a Cabernet lover, as it is apt to sell out quickly.
The Rockaway Cabernet and the Eisch Breathable Glass were sent as Press Samples. However, I did put the Eisch glasses on my holiday wish list so I could round out the set of 1 I currently have! There are no rocks in the Rockaway, but it might Rock you Away.