What we have noticed over the years is that Rockpile’s weather is often the inverse of the Dry Creek Valley. When it is foggy in the valley, it is sunny and warm at Rockpile. When it is hot below, it can be cool and windy in the mountains. 2015 was another warm year and the harvest was early again. As has become custom, we harvested the old vine block, the Dempel/Dupratt block, and the Petite Sirah on the same day allowing us to co-ferment the entire wine. The Petite Sirah, harvested on the early and green side contributes structure, earthiness, and pepperiness to the more ripe full fruit of the Zinfandel. Co-fermenting seems to lead to a wine that is ultimately more knit together.
The 2015 Rockpile Zinfandel is 85% from the old block (virussed Costamagna Clone I think) of Gary Branham’s Vineyard and 7% from the newer planting of Dupratt and Dempel Clones, and 8% Petite Sirah. We fermented in open-tops with 30% whole clusters and let the wine ride itself out with native yeasts and spontaneous malolactic fermentation. Aged in 4 French oak puncheons, 1 new for 16 months.