Rockpile Ridge Zinfandel 2019
Mauritson Wines
Region: Sonoma

92-Wine Enthusiast
Tasting Notes

Textbook Zin nose, full of black cherry, plum, anise, mocha and toast. On the palate, this full-bodied wine is surprisingly agile and graceful, with a fine spine of acidity and some noticeable, if not chewy, back-end tannins. Drinking beautifully now, this will gain added complexity with mid-term aging. Try with a rack of back ribs, Steak au Poivres or with a good book in front of the fire.

Zinfandel is a dark-skinned red wine grape variety widely cultivated in California. It arrived in the Americas from Europe in the early years of the 19th Century and was an immediate success in both Napa and Sonoma counties, which remain its strongholds today. After 30 years of discussion and disagreement (including legal intervention by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms), DNA research carried out by Carole Meredith of the University of California at Davis from the early 1990s to 2002 (known as the Zinquest) confirmed that Zinfandel is identical to Italy’s Primitivo.

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.

Sourced exclusively from the Rockpile Ridge Vineyard that is located at nearly 360 metres in elevation in the Rockpile AVA. This vineyard has sweeping sun exposures from southeast to northwest and consists of nine distinctly different blocks of Zinfandel. This is red wine country and this AVA is known for producing powerful, heavily-scented reds, particularly Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Each of the 9 blocks of the Rockpile Ridge Vineyards are sourced, hand-harvested and vinified separately. Utilizing a signature yeast, the juice undergoes a long, slow, ferment before being pressed into a combination of new and seasoned French oak barrels for 5 months of aging. After careful selection of barrels, the wines are blended and bottled without filtration.

Wine Type: Red

Variety: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah

Classification: AVA

Orientation: South/South-Eastern exposure

Appellation: Sonoma County

Gradient: 360 masl

Soil: Loam, clay, gravel

Farming Practices: Sustainable

Residual Sugar: N/A

Alcohol: 14.57

Malolactic: Yes

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: N/A

Other Practices: Sustainable