Though the Rockpile AVA is planted mostly with Zinfandel, Cabernet also thrives here, with some comparing the results favourably to Napa. Unlike a lot of California Cabernet, this has loads of tension and energy. As you’d expect, it is also loaded with rich, dark cherry and berry fruit alongside notes of mocha, star anise and cedar spice. The palate is full, plush and features plenty of Mauritson’s hallmark streaky minerality.
Cabernet Sauvignon is probably the most famous red wine grape variety on earth and has successfully spread to almost every wine growing country. DNA profiling carried out in California in 1997 confirmed that Cabernet Sauvignon is the product of a natural genetic crossing between key Bordeaux grape varieties Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc. There are two key reasons for Cabernet Sauvignon’s rise to dominance. The most simple and primordial of these is that its vines are highly adaptable to different soil types and climates; it is grown at latitudes as disparate as 50°N (Okanagan Valley, Canada) and 20°S (northern Argentina), and in soils as different as the gravels of Pessac-Leognan and the iron-rich terra rossa of Coonawarra. Secondary to this, but just as important, is that despite the diversity of terroirs in which the vine is grown, Cabernet Sauvignon wines retain an inimitable “Cab” character, nuanced with hints of provenance in the best-made examples. Cabernet Sauvignon wines always seem to demonstrate a handful of common character traits: deep color, good tannin structure, moderate acidity and aromas of blackcurrant, tomato leaf, dark spices and cedarwood.
Rockpile is an AVA at the northern end of Sonoma County. Sitting at the northwestern edge of Dry Creek Valley, it covers a high ridge that sits above Lake Sonoma, providing a sunny, mountainous terroir for the area’s grapes. The terroir in Rockpile is heavily influenced by Lake Sonoma, which was created as a water reservoir in the early 1980s. The presence of the lake helps to limit the influence of fog, creating an inversion layer that draws the cooler air toward the lake’s surface, allowing warmer air to rise. The Rockpile vineyards, which sit above the 240 masl contour line, are free of the fog created by the neighbouring Pacific Ocean and, instead, experience long, sunny days. Like its closest neighbor, Dry Creek Valley, Rockpile is best known for its Zinfandel, making intensely-coloured, concentrated red wines.
The Rockpile Ridge Vineyard is located at nearly 360 metres in elevation in the Rockpile appellation. This vineyard has sweeping sun exposures from southeast to northwest.
83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot. Grapes are hand-selected and sorted prior to a temperature-controlled fermentation in tank. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in French barrels where it ages further for 20 months.