2021 Zinfandel, Rocky Ridge
One of the most renowned appellations for Zinfandel in Northern California is the Rockpile AVA, made up exclusively in a tiny corner of the northernmost Dry Creek Valley. This diminutive area is high up in the hills as you go West towards the coast, and is renowned for its rocky, arid slopes. Some of Sonoma County’s most recognized Zinfandels are grown in Rockpile--including from wineries such as Biale, Bedrock, Bella, Rosenblum, Carol Shelton, Mauritson, and more. We have looked for fruit from the Rockpile appellation for years, and were extremely happy to find a small amount from our friend Chris Mauritson, from his Rocky Ridge Vineyard, one of the first vineyards encountered when heading north on Rockpile Road.
In 2021 the grapes matured slowly and then a blast of heat just before the harvest pushed the ripeness of the grapes.
Since the Rocky Ridge Vineyard has very little available water, the grapes concentrated their flavors just before picking. In the fermenter, the wine turned inky black within a day or two of crushing.
Initially, we hand-sorted the grapes on a conveyor, to eliminate any leaves or imperfect fruit. The crushed grapes were then fermented using only the natural yeast population on the grapes to conduct the fermentation. At dryness, the wine was gently pressed in a membrane press and pumped to 30% new and 70% 2-year or older 60 gallon french oak barrels.
Aroma: Blackberry, plum, pomegranate, herbs de Provence, licorice.
Taste: Ripe blackberry, black cherry. cassis, licorice. Notes of black pepper, mocha, and chocolate. Very long, spicy, fruit-driven finish; great aging potential.