The Sterling Vineyards Rockpile Zinfandel is inviting with aromas of blackberry jam, baked berry pie, cured meat and black pepper spice. The powerful, mouth filling palate has bold flavors of blackberry, raspberry, sweet oak and spice. The wine is round, with a firm yet supple and approachable structure.
Coined Sonoma County’s most rugged and spectacular AVA, Rockpile is located in Northern Sonoma County, at the northwest corner of Dry Creek Valley. The Rockpile AVA encompasses nearly 15,000 acres, of which less than 160 are actually planted to vineyard. This makes Rockpile one of the smallest AVAs in the United States in terms of acreage planted. Vineyards range in elevation from 800’ to nearly 2100’ and as Sterling Vineyards Winemaker and Sonoma County native, Harry Hansen notes, “the Rockpile vineyard ridgetops are like islands in the sky, well above the fog line.”
2014 was a beautiful vintage along the lines of the recent outstanding vintages of 2012 and 2013. Although California’s continued drought brought another dry winter, the growing season started with a warm, dry spring and relatively early bud break. Summer temperatures remained mild and consistent with even, warm temperatures throughout. The overall quality and expressive fruit characteristics make this an outstanding vintage.
The Zinfandel grapes were hand harvested in the cool of early morning and transported to the winery. The fruit was gently destemmed and lightly crushed. Fermentation in stainless steel with two weeks of skin contact imparted deep, beautiful color concentration and fruit character. The wine was barreled for 14 months in a mix of American and French oak (40% new). 1,000 cases were made and the wine was bottled in March 2017.