Rockpile Ridge Zinfandel 2019

Producer: Mauritson Wines
Region: Sonoma
Appellation: Sonoma County
Country: USA
Classification: AVA
Wine Type: Red
Variety: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Alcohol: 14.6%
Soil: Loam, clay, gravel
Farming Practices: Sustainable
Awards: 92-Wine Enthusiast
info@buyersandcellars.ca www.buyersandcellars.ca

Cellar Profile

7th generation farmers, the Mauritson family have been working these vineyards since 1868, finally releasing their own wines in 1998. The winery is now under the stewardship of former University of Oregon football player, Clay Mauritson, who grew up working the vineyards with his father before cutting his teeth at Kenwood Vineyards. Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon specialists, Mauritson Wines is located at the corner of Dry Creek Valley and Lytton Springs Road, hallowed ground for Zinfandel, in particular. The vast majority of the Mauritson grapes are sold to premium producers throughout Sonoma County.


Rockpile Ridge is one of California’s newest AVAs, sitting at the northwestern edge of Dry Creek Valley, in Sonoma County. It covers a high ridge (800-2000 feet in elevation) that sits above Lake Sonoma, just 13 miles from the Pacific Ocean. The presence of Lake Sonoma, which was created as a water reservoir in the early 1980s, helps to limit the Pacific Ocean fog here by creating an inversion layer that draws the cooler air toward the lake’s surface, allowing warmer air to rise. The sunny, mountainous Rockpile vineyards experience hot days and very cool evenings, allowing extremely long hang times for the area’s grapes. 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.


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.


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.

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.