On Wednesday, September 8, 2010, I attended the first-ever trade and media event promoting one of California’s newest appellations, the Rockpile AVA. This event was sponsored by the Rockpile Grape Growers Association and Sommelier Journal. It was graciously hosted by Rock Wall Wine Company (Shauna & Kent Rosenblum) of Alameda, CA. Also, it was great to finally meet Randy Caparoso in person! He’s an editor for Sommelier Journal and an acclaimed restaurant wine consultant.
The Rockpile appellation located in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County California was established in 2002. However, the area has been referred to as Rockpile since the 1850’s and has quite a history, aside from grapes, which includes an outlaw from the Jesse James gang and even actors from the famous TV Western Bonanza. You can learn a lot more about the Rockpile AVA, the winemakers, grape growers and what makes it so special at: http://rockpileappellation.com.
Although Rockpile is known for Zinfandels, it was a very educational to taste the Zinfandels along with Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, Syrahs, and Petit Sirahs from the appellation. In addition, doing a vertical tasting of Carol Shelton Wines’ Rocky Reserve Zinfandels from years 2000 to 2009 at her table was a very special treat! During the breakout session, we were guided through vertical tastings of 4 flights of 5 Rockpile Zinfandel vintages and participated in a Q & A of the winemakers moderated by Kent Rosenblum. Here’s what we tasted:
- 2001 & 2002 Carol Shelton and Mauritson Zinfandels
- 2005, 2007 and 2009 Carol Shelton, Seghesio, Mauritson and Paradise Ridge Zinfandels
The wineries that were there with their Rockpile appellation wines for tasting were: Rock Wall Wine Company, Mauritson Family Winery, Carol Shelton, JC Cellars, Paradise Ridge Winery, Seghesio Family Vineyards, Stryker Sonoma Winery, Branham Estate Wines and Branham Rockpile Vineyard. The Rockpile grape growers that participated were: Gloeckner-Turner and Westphall Ridge Vineyards, JD Ranch, Rocky Ridge Vineyards, Mauritson Rockpile Ridge and Rockpile Ranch.
These are a few photos I took at the event. I wish I took more photos, but I was so busy tasting all the rockin’ Rockpile wines! Randy Caparoso took more photos which you may be able to see on Facebook if you have an account and his photos can be publicly viewed.
Walk-around tasting of Rockpile AVA wines held at Rockwall Wine Company, Alameda, CA
Carol Shelton (R) and Mitch Mackenzie (L) of Carol Shelton Wines
Carol Shelton Rockpile Vertical Tasting 2000-2009
Filed under: Sonoma, Wine Events, Wine Tasting, Wines of California | Tagged: rockpile ava appellation, rockpile grape growers association, rockpile wines, rockpile zinfandels, rockwall, sommelier journal event, zin event, zin tasting, zins | 1 Comment »