Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel 2013
Wine: Mauritson Family Vineyards
Region: Dry Creek Valley, California
Grapes: Zinfandel, Petite Sirah
I've known winemaker Clay Mauritson for over a decade - about as long as I've been championing the Robert Sinskey Vin Gris. In fact they both came into my life that first year I worked for T. Edward Wines as a sales rep in NYC. Thanks to T. Edward's generosity in educating their reps with first-hand experience, I was able to visit both the Sinskey and Mauritson estates during my tenure with the company. Clay took our group for a vineyard tour of the family's Dry Creek Valley estate, including the illustrious Rockpile AVA that encompasses vineyards within the Dry Creek Valley region in Sonoma and so named for it's near absence of topsoil. Clay makes several wines from the Rockpile vineyard, including cabernet, cabernet franc, zinfandel, syrah and a port-style blend of native Portuguese grapes. The estate itself was established in 1868 by Clay's great-great-great grandfather, a Swedish immigrant who planted grapes and made wine to ship home. Six generations of grape growers have supplied fruit to numerous Sonoma producers over the years, but Clay is the first to make and bottle wine from the estate for commercial sale.
Zinfandel has gotten a bad rap in past years, as it joined the big flavor movement that (over) produced plush, alcoholic inky juice savored by the wine slugging proletariat. But my recent praise for Dashe Cellars proves that not all zins are created equal (I'll share another California zin gem later this week), and that there are talented producers making age-worthy zinfandels with balance and verve. Clay Mauritson is one of them. Zin is a difficult grape, in part because it ripens unevenly. Later this week, I'll share an interview with Clay where he shares his insight on growing zinfandel and how he battles its inherent propensity for high-alcohol wines.
The Mauritson Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel 2013 is deep ruby in color with purple reflections. Black mission fig and blackberry on the nose are followed by blackberry cobbler on the palate and lush, velvety tannins. A tongue-coating mid-palate of dried and fresh fruit slide into a lengthy finish. So delicious.