|It is rare enough for an appellation’s name to be so descriptive of its
geophysical nature, rarer still to so closely adhere to the ancient adage that
“the vine must suffer that the wine be distinctive.”
In the northwestern
most corner of Sonoma County, on stark, hardscrabble ridgelines overlooking manmade
Lake Sonoma sits the county’s newest viticultural area: Rockpile.
The name comes from Rockpile Ranch, that once counted 20,000 acres in cattle
and sheep. Local lore has legendary Sheriff Tennessee Bishop putting prisoners
to work grading roads to his mountain ranch. The cons dubbed it “rockpile,”
and the story may well have the virtue of truth on its side.
Viniculturally, Rockpile is known for the intense, highly defined red wines
grown between rugged rock outcroppings since 1872. Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Syrah
and Cabernet Sauvignon evolve dramatically from the spare, demanding soils that
are over 800 feet above sea level. Thus, though cooled by coastal breezes, it
remains above the evening fog layer; the extra sun exposure ripens red grape varieties
to peerless perfection.
~Sonoma County Vintners