Blending Rodney Strong’s Symmetry

Mark Anthony Group is the agency that represents the Californian winery Rodney Strong in Canada.  Mark Anthony Group in association with Rodney Strong organized a fun and interactive tasting of the Meritage blend called Symmetry at Canoe restaurant.  I was very excited to participate in this activity because even though I don’t typically drink Californian wines, I have always appreciated Rodney Strong Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, especially the Chalk Hill.  I suppose I like their wines because because the grapes are grown in cooler areas of California like Sonoma County and Alexander Valley.  As a result the wines exhibit elegance and cool climate qualities of interest to me.  I was unfamiliar with the Rodney Strong’s Meritage grape varieties and the blend itself. The experience introduced me to more of producer’s portfolio.

Tasting mat of the five grape varietals, lab sample bottles, graduated cylinder and pipettes for the blending exercise.

Rick Sayre, the Cheif Winemaker spoke of how he goes about blending trials and establishing Symmetry’s style and name.  After a brief presentation the participants were divided into three teams.  Each team had the task of creating a blend and naming it.  The wine would be judged by Rick Sayre and the name would be judged by the Marketing Manager.  The winning team would earn bragging rights and a coffee table book of photos from Sonoma County.  On my team I had the talent of some of Toronto’s finest restaurants; Leslie from FRANK’s at the AGO, Chris from Far Niente, Scott from Auberge du Pommier and Ugene from Biff’s.  We took a different approach to achieving our blend.  We each created our own 100ml blend as to how we thought it should best be proportioned. Then we tasted the five blends and scored them out of five. I am happy to say my blend won as the wine we would enter for our group.  What proved to be a more difficult task was choosing a name.  We Googled synonyms for the word symmetry.  Some awkward, unattractive names came about.  Scott and Leslie then came up with the idea to call the wine “Cordance”, taken from the word “concordance”.  It was beautiful, romantic and feminine just like the wine.

After the judging, Rick announced the winning wine, Equation.  Our wine won for the marketing name “Cordance”.  I spoke with Rick afterwards and he said our blend was the most Bordeaux-like and in a few years it would be superb.  That complement was better than winning.

Our team’s wine was comprised of:
60% Cabernet Sauvignon – the base canvas for the other varieties.
15% Cabernet Franc – the pure, light, red fruit character of this wine.
15% Petit Verdot –  highly aromatic with floral notes, particularly violets.
8% Merlot – for soft fruit.
2% Malbec – for juicy, approachability.

Konrad Ejbich (member of the winning team!) made a short video of the blending presentation and the winning wine.  Watch it by clicking here.  


About allisonvidug

Allison has been professionally passionate about wine and food for eight years. In that short time, Allison has traveled across Canada to work at some of the finest establishments focussed on premium wine, food and service. Her travels and education has allowed Allison the pleasure to live in some of Canada’s most beautiful locations such as the Okanagan Valley, Niagara Peninsula, the Southern Gulf Islands, Toronto, Lake Louise and Muskoka. Some of Allison's favourite things include; wine, gin, whisky, cheese, mushrooms, cooking, hosting, growing vegetables, cottaging and dogs. Allison has seriously invested in her education of food and drink. She is a graduate of the Food and Beverage Management Diploma Program at George Brown College. She also holds a Diploma in Viticulture and Winery Management from Niagara College. Allison has fine tuned her wine and spirit sensory skills by completing certificates with the International Sommelier Guild and the Wine and Spirits Education Trust. Allison is currently completing here WSET Diploma, one of the highest levels of wine education.
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