88% Zinfandel, 12% Petite Sirah
94 Points – Jeb Dunnuck, JebDunnuck.com
94 Points – Anthony Dias Blue, Blue Lifestyle
Ruby, purple color, nose of licorice, raspberry and toasty oak. On the palate, rich blackberry fruit, chalky tannins and a long spicy finish. JO (2/20)
The Rockpile appellation extends westward in the hills above Dry Creek Valley. Here, long, warm days create ideal conditions for growing zinfandel and petite sirah. After a dry winter, late spring rains replenished water to the soil. Mild weather in July gave way to warmer temperatures in August that brought the crop to full ripeness by mid-September. This rich, opulent zinfandel can be enjoyed over the next 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. Throughout the early 1900s, the land was largely used for sheep ranches, and not until the creation of Lake Sonoma Reservoir in the 1980s, 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.
Rainfall: 25 inches (below normal)
Weather: Winter rains were light this year, totaling 25 inches. Rains in April and May helped the vines get through the summer.
Harvest Dates: 11 & 24 September
Grapes: Average Brix 24.7˚
TA: 6.29 g/L
Fermentation: Grapes destemmed and crushed, pumped over a floating cap twice daily. Pressed at nine days.
Barrels: 100% air-dried American oak barrels (15% new, 20% one year-old, 20% two years-old, and 45% three and four years-old).
Aging: Twelve 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; 1.25 g/L tartaric acid added; oak from barrel aging; minimum effective sulfur for this wine (35 ppm at crush, 82 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.
JebDunnuck.com: 94 Points “From the Botticelli Vineyard in the Rockpile AVA and based on 88% Zinfandel and 12% Petite Sirah, the 2018 Zinfandel Rockpile offers a rich, meaty style that carries lots of mulled plum and black cherry fruits, notes of smoked game, forest floor, chocolate, and bouquet garni, medium to full body, and a rounded, mouthfilling style on the palate. One of the more dense, concentrated wines in the lineup, it’s a stunning wine that’s going to evolve for at least a decade.” – Jeb Dunnuck (May 2020)
Blue Lifestyle: 94 Points “This celebrated Zinfandel incubator has produced another stunning wine; silky smooth and lush with bright mineral-inflected fruit; generous and complete, long and juicy.” – Anthony Dias Blue (April 2020)
Vinous Media: 91 Points “The 2018 Zinfandel Rockpile is a very pretty, aromatic wine. Even with 12% Petite Sirah in the blend, the Rockpile is a Zinfandel that favors aromatics and mid-weight structured. Crushed red berries, tobacco, leather and cedar are all nicely lifted throughout. All the elements are wonderfully balanced in a Zinfandel that drinks beautifully right now. The 2018 is 88% Zinfandel and 12% Petite Sirah from Botticelli Vineyard in Sonoma.” -Antonio Galloni (September 2020)
Average Rating: 89.8
No. of Tasting Notes: 21
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