2017 Rockpile

2017 Rockpile

Wine Information

66% Zinfandel, 34% Petite Sirah

93 PointsWine & Spirits
93 Points – James SucklingJamesSuckling.com
92 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate







Alcohol By Volume


Winemaker Tasting Notes

Dark garnet and full-bodied with aromas plum and boysenberry. Rich and round on the palate. Well-balanced, with a hint of minerality and a sumptuous long and lingering finish. MB (7/19)

Vintage Notes

This is the first time Ridge has produced a wine from this hillside vineyard in the Rockpile Viticultural Area. It is made up of four parcels of zinfandel and one of petite sirah. After fermenting each separately, we chose three of the four zinfandel blocks for their exuberant fruit and the petite sirah for its depth of color and full body at moderate ripeness. Enjoyable as a young wine, it has the intensity and structure to age for six to seven years.


Botticelli is a 60-acre mountain vineyard located around 1,200 feet above Lake Sonoma in the famous Rockpile appellation, which sits at the far western reaches of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. The history of Rockpile is a rich one beginning with the Pomo tribe, pre-1850, which called the region ‘kabe-chana’, meaning place with many rocks. Through the early 1900’s, the land was largely used for sheep ranches, and not until the creation of Lake Sonoma Reservoir in the 1980’s, did the property truly emerge as the impressive grape growing region it is today. Shortly after, in 2002, the Rockpile AVA was established. The current owners, Arthur and Susan Biedermann, planted 10 acres of zinfandel and petite sirah in 1997. Due to an inversion layer originating from Lake Sonoma, Botticelli receives ample sunlight throughout the growing season and less fog than nearby regions, leading to the production of high quality wine grapes. The 2017 Rockpile is our first vintage of this wine.

Growing Season

Rainfall: 61.5 inches (above average)
Bloom: Late May
Weather: A wet winter gave us much-needed rain. Cool weather in the spring affected set across all varieties. Several heat spikes in late June, July and August saw temperatures over 105 degrees.


Harvest Dates: 14 & 28 September
Grapes: Average Brix 25.6˚
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed, pumped over a floating cap twice daily. Pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (10% new, 25% two years-old, and 65% three and four years-old.)
Aging: Ten months in barrel

Sustainably farmed, hand-harvested, grapes; destemmed and crushed; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by a full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; 3.2% water addition, tartaric acid, oak from barrel aging, minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 83 ppm over the course of aging); pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.


Wine & Spirits: 93 Points (Best Buy) “Ulises Valdez manages this vineyard, on a hillside rising from 1,000 to 1,240 feet toward Rockpile Peak. He farms zinfandel and petite sirah that John Olney makes into this fresh and juicy blend. It layers floral, zinny-red fruit over the darker tones of petite’s fruit-skin blackness. Remarkably light and airy for all its spice and fruit richness, this is quaffable as a young wine yet has the staying power to age” – J.G. (August 2019)

JamesSuckling.com: 93 Points “This has a firmish feel with ripe dark fruit, delivered in brambly, pure mode on the nose and palate. The tannins are strikingly rich, punchy and deep. A blend of 66% zinfandel and 34% petite sirah. Give this four or five years to settle. Try from 2024.” – James Suckling (December 2019)

The Wine Advocate: 92 Points “Medium ruby-purple, it opens with stone-fruit cobbler, cardamom and cinnamon stick with touches of dried leaves, underbrush, licorice and tobacco with a core of blackberries and black cherries plus red and blue berry hints. Medium-bodied, it’s intensely flavored but light on its feet with bright berries and spicy character, a lightly chalky frame and juicy acidity to lift the long finish.” – Erin Brooks (February 2020)

Consumer Tasting Notes

Average Rating: 89.7

No. of Tasting Notes: 40

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Food Pairings

See all food pairing recipes we have created specifically for this wine.

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