Counterpoint to the hillside of the Allen Vineyard, the Rochioli Riverblock sits just above the bank of the Russian River. The deeper soils allow the vines to slowly mature and develop dark, baritone-like aromas and flavors. A basket full of berries dominate the nose along with fennel fronds and citrus. On the palate, the wine is harmonious and dense with dark fruit flavors and earthy undertones. Older vines from 1989 make up the bulk of the wine which translates into an unsurpassed polish to the tannins.
The 2019 growing season started with ample rainfall in the winter months and finished well above average with over 51 inches on Westside Road. Wet soil and cool temperatures conspired to delay bud break nearly two weeks later than historical average. Moderate to slightly above average temperatures ensued, and the vegetative cycle caught up aggressively. Flowering started under ideal conditions but a late May rain event delayed flowering for a week once better weather returned. This had some impact mostly where there was full bloom and created some shatter and smaller clusters with millerandage or “hens and chick”. These smaller clusters are desirable because they are looser and the smaller the berry, the higher the tendency to yield concentrated and flavorful wines. The remainder of the growing season was largely uneventful, less one minor heat event in mid-August. August was largely fog-free which has become the new normal. The result of less fog intrusion is that nights were warmer and the days sunnier which tended to move photosynthesis and maturation along more quickly. With the ideal conditions early in the season, and overall moderate weather, the maturation gap on a later bud break was reduced and the harvest started on a predictable timeline. The harvest schedule was mostly routine and rather leisurely with grapes arriving to the winery in pristine condition. The 2019 wines are impressive with excellent color, depth, and precision of site. The polish of the tannins and softer acid profiles will offer early appeal but can certainly hold on for years.