ALEXANDER VALLEY
CHALK HILL
DRY CREEK VALLEY
ROCKPILE
USEFUL LINKS

With over 270 acres of estate vineyards and close relationships with longtime growers throughout Sonoma County, we are able to source and manage our favorite blocks from each vineyard throughout the growing season and select the most premium fruit during harvest.

Each vineyard and appellation we source from carry particular qualities in either the terroir or the farming style that we look for when considering a Mauritson wine release. Detailed notes on each vineyards are located at left. For more specific information on any of our vineyards, please feel free to email your questions to clay@mauritsonwines.com.

Learn more about our winemaking program.


Cabernet D
Alexander Valley
When my dad and grandfather finished planting our Alexander Valley vineyard in 1973; they thought they would never need to plant another vine on that property. Thirty years, and one ferocious aphid (phylloxera) later, and we were back at it, replanting nearly half of the property. It turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to us. Of the 100 acres of vineyard, 60 had to be replanted to due phylloxera, and though it was painful at the time, it will be these vineyards that carry our wines into the next generation.

Since that vineyard was first planted; much has been learned about growing the correct varietals in the right location. Our Cabernet Block D is living proof. This block of prime Alexander Valley bench was previously planted to Chardonnay. It would be hard to argue that it is not a premiere location to grow world class cabernet, and that is what we are now doing. Replanted in 2002, we took our first crop of fruit off of it in 2006. Using 101-14 rootstock with the classic Bordeaux clone 337, this vineyard is already producing amazing cabernet in its infancy. The gravely loam soil ensures low vigor and low yields. The wine exhibits the classic chalky tannins and dusty characteristics that have made Alexander Valley renowned for cabernet. This block is the perfect compliment to our Dry Creek, Rockpile, and Wild Iris vineyards, forming our Sonoma County Cabernet.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Sonoma County Cabernet
Dobbins Vineyard
Alexander Valley
One of our more recent land acquisitions, this property was purchased 20 years ago. It is adjacent to our original Alexander Valley property, and as good, if not better for growing Chardonnay. All 20 acres of this Alexander Valley bench are planted to Chardonnay. We learned from our previous mistakes, and planted the best clones on the correct rootstock, with the optimal sun exposure the first time around. The close proximity to Sausal creek and Russian river tell you why soil is full of river rock and the Wente clone grows perfectly here. This growing environment lends itself to more of a white Burgundy versus a traditional California chardonnay style: crisp acidity, wet stone and mineral, with green apple and pear fruits.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Alexander Valley Chardonnay
Wild Iris
Chalk Hill
The newest addition to our vineyard portfolio, the Wild Iris is also one of the most exciting. In searching for a compliment to the cabernet my family was growing, we felt we needed fruit from a cooler growing region. We had a chance encounter with some wine made from this vineyard and were thoroughly impressed. It’s fair to say that after visiting the vineyard, it was love at first sight. The vineyard is located on the western edge of the Chalk Hill appellation. The cool breezes from Russian River sweep up the steep and rocky hillside. The cooler climate gives us great hang time and incredible concentration. The 337 clone that the upper block is planted to, provides small berries with thick skins. The resulting wine is powerful and intense with phenomenal aromatics, the perfect compliment to our estate cabernet.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Reserve Cabernet
Sonoma County Cabernet
Buchignani-Garcia
Dry Creek
This story could be told over and over about our growers: long time family friends, multi generation grape growers in Dry Creek valley, and the owners of some of the best zinfandel on the planet. The Buchignani family fits all those descriptors. The particular block that we purchase from them is one of the most unique vineyards in all of Dry Creek valley. The valley runs North/Northwest from the town of Healdsburg, which means that the vineyards either have a western or eastern sun exposure, depending on what side of the valley it’s planted on. This block however, is planted on a Southern facing slope. It is the result of a small hollow that shoots off to the east. The dry farmed vineyard get’s ideal direct morning sun, yet has the benefit of indirect sun the rest of the day. Planted at nearly 35 degrees, there is no water retention is this soil; the clay and loam ensure it. Being dry famed and nearly stressed to the breaking point, this is one of our lowest yielding vineyards. As you might imagine, it is also one of the most tannic. This wine is not only an integral component of our Growers Reserve zinfandel, but it provides the backbone of our Dry Creek zinfandel, year in and year out.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
Growers Reserve Zinfandel
Faloni
Dry Creek
The only vineyard that we use from the west side of the valley, the Faloni zinfandel is an integral part of our winemaking. Planted right on Dry Creek, and having a unique sun exposure, this fruit yields very different characteristics than any of our other vineyards. The west side of the valley tends to get much less sun, which allows the fruit longer hang time. The extended hang time gives us added depth and richness in the resulting wine. The cooler growing conditions, due to the proximity to the creek, give us higher acids and brighter fruit characteristics. The flavors are purer and more discernable than any other vineyard we use.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
Growers Reserve Zinfandel
Grandma's
Dry Creek
Another casualty or beneficiary, depending on how you look at it, of phylloxera, this vineyard was originally planted to chardonnay. In 2002 we finally pulled the plug on the dying vineyard and did what we should have done 20 years ago, plant Sauvignon Blanc. Grandma’s vineyard is the perfect complement to our Hardie Ranch. The temperature is about 5 degrees warmer on average, the soils are slightly richer, and spacing is tighter. This gives us Sauvignon Blanc with more tropical flavors, greater viscosity, better aromatics, and a softer palate. Not to mention that it is Grandma’s vineyard, and you know anything that Grandma grows in going to be darn good.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Hardie Ranch
Dry Creek
The home of our fabulous Sauvignon Blanc, we have been farming this property for over 20 years. We have 65 acres of vineyard planted here, with 4 different varietals, but it is the Sauvignon Blanc that really shines. Located on the valley floor, our ranch borders dry creek for nearly 300 yards. The cooling effect of the not so dry creek elongates the growing season, giving the wine great richness and complexity while retaining the crisp acidity. The sand and rock in the soil give our Sauvignon Blanc its signature Sancerre style: bright citrus fruits with wet stone and hints of mineral.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Home Ranch, Block 3
Dry Creek
Probably some of the best grapes that my family grows, this cabernet has been part of many; gold medal, reserve, and 90+ point wines. In fact, the fruit was so good that it took me 5 years to renegotiate the contracts with the wineries that were buying the fruit, just so that I could get my hands on 5 tons of it. Planted in the red loam that is synonymous with great Dry Creek Valley wines, it is one of the most picturesque vineyards that we own. Situated on a terraced slope across a beautiful western facing hillside, over looking the valley, this vineyard gets optimal sun and wind exposure. The near 30 degree slopes ensure that there will be very little water retention, leaving the vines stressed and the yields low. The berries are roughly the size of small peas, with very thick skins. The clusters are always long and loose, ensuring even ripening and eliminating the chance of rot or botrytis. Given the extreme slope, the roots gain even greater depth than normal, giving this fruit its characteristic mineral notes. Always lush and fruit forward, this is truly a great example of how good Dry Creek Valley cabernet can be.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Sonoma County Cabernet
Home Ranch, Block 5
Dry Creek
Not only is Block 5 the home of the winery, but it is also home to the backbone of our Dry Creek zinfandel. Planted in 1980, these 27 year old vine are just hitting their prime. Located at the corner of Dry Creek and Lytton Springs Roads, it is somewhat hallowed ground for zinfandel. The sandy loam is thick with river rock, as is much of the Dry Creek valley floor. The great drainage in the soil produces smaller berries and limits the overall yields. This is also one of the earliest vertical trellis systems in the valley, giving us great canopy management, with mature vines. The resulting fruit is prototypical Dry Creek valley zinfandel: full of bright berry fruits, black pepper, silky tannins, and a long complex finish.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Mazzoni
Alexander Valley
Mike Mazzoni and my dad have been best friends for 30 plus years. We spent many a dinner at the Mazzoni house growing up. The only thing that has changed is that now that the kids are grown up, we go though a lot more wine over dinner. The fact that this is the only zinfandel that we purchase from outside of Dry Creek Valley should speak volumes about the quality of this fruit. One of the most perfectly manicured vineyards that one would ever see, the fruit is equally spectacular. Growing in a warmer climate, Alexander Valley, and with marginally better soils than Dry Creek valley, this is the perfect complement to our Dry Creek vineyards. The warmer climate yields riper and more exotic fruit characteristics. The wine has amazing aromas of dried peach and apricot, complemented by a white pepper spice. The texture is always lush and full, with soft velvety tannin. Polar opposite from the berry fruits and black spice of Dry Creek, but it is the perfect complement.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
Saini
Dry Creek
Like my family, the Saini’s have been growing grapes in northern Sonoma County for generations. In 1998, when we decided to branch out into the wine business, they were the first people we went to see. Owners of the some of the most coveted zinfandel in Dry Creek valley, I’m sure there are a lot of people that have that same thought, but trust me, not everyone gets Saini fruit. Since day one, we have been using the entirety of two small blocks: Andrew’s and Gene’s Hill. Planted in 1965 and 1945 respectively, this is the epitome of “Old Vine” zinfandel. Grown on the famous Dry Creek Valley bench, just above the winery, this is hallowed ground for zinfandel. The combined total tonnage is less that 4 tons, but the low yields are one of the things that makes this fruit so special. Producing relatively small berries with extremely thick skins, this is one of the only lots of zinfandel that we can do extended maceration on. Dry farmed, these roots systems are up to 30 ft deep, breaking through many different stratas of soil. The complexity of flavors in the wine, combined with the incredible tannins, is the reason that this fruit goes into our Growers Reserve year after year.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
Growers Reserve Zinfandel
Buck Pasture
Rockpile
Some of the historical names of our property are of the colorful type, and some are more practical. The Buck Pasture definitely fits the second category. Back in the old days, when you wanted to find a big buck, this is the area of the ranch you went to. It’s not hard to imagine why the deer congregated here. There was always plenty of feed, it was extremely steep, which discouraged unwanted visitors, and it has the best views on the property.

Located between 1,000 and 1,300 ft elevation and with sweeping sun exposures from South to Southwest, this block is ideally suited for BDX varietals. The thin gravely loam provides the perfect balance of stress and sustainability. The stressed environment gives us extremely small yields with incredibly concentrated fruit, yet there is a richness and soft round tannins that comes from the soil and increased sun. With a slope up to 30 degrees, we never have to worry about too much water retention in this soil. The resulting wines have amazing intricacy. They are at the same time rich and tannic, bold and understated, fruit forward and complex, youthful yet age worthy. This vineyard is planted to Malbec, Petite Verdot, Cabernet Franc, and Tannat.

WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Buck Pasture
Rockpile Buck Pasture Malbec
Mauritson Sonoma County Cabernet
Cemetery
Rockpile
No need to worry, there is no one buried beneath the vineyard. This block is so named due to the extremely unusual outcropping of rock at the bottom of the vineyard. Though the terrain in Rockpile is very extreme, there are not a lot of sedimentary rock formations on our ranch. This particular rock formation is eerily similar to giant tombstones. Jacks Cabin may have been haunted, but trust me, the hair stands up on the back of your neck every time you walk through the “Cemetery.”

Comprised of serpentine and shale, this block straddles the Rogers Creek fault, one of the more active earthquake faults in Northern California. With a southwestern sun exposure, 15 to 20 degree slope, and the previous mentioned soil, the wine is everything you might expect: intense, powerful, and complex. Year after year the Cemetery yields Zinfandel with amazing black fruit and unbelievable tannins. These wines will have the greatest longevity of any of the Rockpile Zinfandels.

WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Zinfandel, Cemetery Ridge
Gloeckner-Turner
Rockpile
Owned by the brother and sister tandem that is Robert Gloeckner and Jean Turner, this piece of land is as much a part of my family’s history as our own land. The Gloeckner family, like ours, has been farming in Rockpile for decades. They began as sheep ranchers, just as my family did six generations ago. When we needed help herding or sheering sheep, the Gloeckners were always there and vice versa. The best thing about those hard days work, was it always led to a great meal, plenty to drink, and lots of story telling — not necessarily in that order.

It was supreme pleasure to plant the Gloeckner-Turner vineyard for these old family friends back in 2000. Not only were they able to realize the dream of farming the family property again, but also because I knew it would produce some of the best cabernet and merlot grown in California. Planted on what can only be described as a bench at 1,350 ft elevation, the result of a massive landslide some time ago, this small 11 acre vineyard is separated to four different blocks. Three blocks are planted to Cabernet, and there is a 3-acre block of Merlot. Though the soils, or lack there of, and sun exposures are very uniform throughout the vineyard, the slope varies greatly and is the catalyst behind the separate blocks. Rich and robust, the wines from this property are not for the faint of heart. The lack of water retention leads to extremely small berries which translate to intense flavors, incredible color extraction, and phenomenal tannins. This fruit forms the backbone of our Reserve Cabernet and the “Buck Pasture” Bordeaux blend.

WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Buck Pasture
Mauritson Growers Reserve Cabernet
Mauritson Sonoma County Cabernet
Independence
Rockpile
Not only is Independence one of the younger names on the property, it is also one of the most colorful. The story goes like this: in typical Ed Mauritson fashion, he had waited until the last minute to secure a wild boar for the Fourth of July barbeque being held later that day. A scolding from Grandma sent him off on an early morning hunt. After an unsuccessful start, he encountered a group of young boars in a remote area of the ranch. There must have been something in the numbers that day because my grandfather came home with four wild boars on the fourth of July and that area of the ranch has been known as Independence ever since.

In 1999 when we started planting our Rockpile vineyards, I seized the opportunity to fulfill one of my lifelong wine dreams: to make a true vintage port, using the authentic Portuguese varietals. We planted four of the “Big Five” varietals that make up port: Tinta Cão, Touriga Nacional, Sousão, Tinta Madeira as well as taking some creative liberty in planting Tannat. We have exhausted every effort to make this wine as true to a vintage port as possible, all the way down to stomping the grapes with our feet. The incredible color and viscosity of this wine are apparent from the second you pour it into your glass. Rich aromas of chocolate and vanilla are complemented by the fragrance of dark fruits. Full and gluttonous in the front palate, phenomenal tannins lay just below the surface of the heady flavors of coco and truffles.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Independence
Jack's Cabin
Rockpile
Named after one of the original inhabitants of this area, Jack Ireland lived in Rockpile in the early 1800’s. Jack was known as a crazy old hermit. He spent his days girdling trees — cutting a ring around a tree trunk and removing the bark and underlying tissue in order to kill the tree. This was done to clear land for grazing. It goes without saying that is was lonely work in a forgotten corner of Sonoma County.

There are plenty of colorful stories about “Crazy Jack,” many of which involve moonshine, guns, jail, an insane asylum, and public nudity. Well, when my dad, and his father before him, was growing up on the property all that was left of Jack was the remnants of his cabin. It was widely believed that the cabin and this area of the ranch was haunted by none other than Jack. This was a good threat to a child; “If you misbehave, we're going to leave you at Jack's Cabin.” Needless to say, no one misbehaved. Being the rebel and connoisseur of distilled spirits that Jack was, I’m sure he’d approve of the Mauritson “Jack's Cabin” Zinfandel.

The Jack's Cabin Vineyard is the proverbial last piece of the puzzle in our quartet of single vineyard Rockpile zinfandels. We make four Rockpile zinfandels for a reason, the incredible diversity of terroir. This vineyard may be the most unique, for Rockpile that is. Containing primarily loam soils, the vineyard has a southern sun exposure and is planted at roughly 10-15 degrees slope. Relatively hidden from the costal breezes that howl through Rockpile, this vineyard is definitely the least stressed of all the blocks, and the wine reflects it. Rich in the mid-palate, this is about as close as you are going to get to a jammy zinfandel from Rockpile. The flavors are pure, showing both raspberry and strawberry fruit, finishing with soft velvety tannins.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Zinfandel, Jack's Cabin
Lower Pond
Rockpile
As the name suggests, this block is located directly below the pond. It actually is the convergence of two other Rockpile blocks: Jack's Cabin and Water Trough. The rows bend around the pond, giving this vineyard two very different sun orientations. Half of the rows run westward, while the other half bends toward the North. One of the heartiest of the Rockpile vineyards, it has the advantage of spanning a small trough. What little water there is collects in the low spot, giving the vines great vitality. One of the last blocks harvested, the strong vines yield surprisingly supple fruit. Unlike its neighbor to the North, this wine exhibits more spice and exotic fruit characteristics versus minerals. Always full in the mid palate, the supple tannins provide a good backbone to all the wines it is blended into.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Ridge Zinfandel
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
Madrone Spring
Rockpile
Another one of the more un-original names on the property, the Madrone Spring block is so named for the year round fresh water spring that runs out of the roots of the most beautiful madrone tree that you have ever seen. The irony is that there is virtually no ground water on our property. We drilled six wells, only finding water in one of them, and the spring produces more water than the well. The tree is situated at the intersection of the three varietals planted in this vineyard.

This block is the most diverse of all the Rockpile blocks. It has three distinctly different sun exposures, a menagerie of soil compositions, and is planted to three different varietals. In the upper portion of the vineyard, at nearly 1,500 ft elevation, it is not uncommon to have sustained winds of 20-30 miles per hour, while the lower portion is completely shielded from the coastal breezes.

ZINFANDEL — The zinfandel is planted at a Northwestern sun exposure with primarily red loam soils. One of the steepest blocks on the property, the slope often exceeds 30%. The fruit from this block is the primary ingredient in our Rockpile Ridge zinfandel and it is everything that you would expect given the conditions. The late afternoon sun exposure leads to incredible hang time. The Madrone Spring zinfandel is typically harvested two to three weeks after all of the other Rockpile zinfandels have been picked. The extended hang time provides great structure in the wine with amazing complexity of flavor. The steep slopes force the roots deeper to find water which is reflected in the great mineral characteristics. It would be easy to argue that this is the most balanced of all of the Rockpile zinfandels.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
PETITE SIRAH — The Petite Sirah is planted with a Southeastern sun exposure with soils ranging from chalk to loam to serpentine. The varied soil types provide an array of flavors in the fruit. Protected form the fierce winds, and planted at a relatively slight degree of slope, this block has proven to be one of the most consistent producers. This vineyards average yield is less than 2.5 tons to the acre, ensuring that each bunch of fruit is as perfectly ripened as the next. Black as midnight on a moonless night and as big as you could ever dream of, we make no apologies for our Madrone Spring Petite Sirah. This is what Rockpile Petite Sirah is all about.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Petite Sirah, Madrone Spring
SYRAH — The Syrah has the most uniform environment of all the varietals grown in the Madrone Spring, having an Eastern sun exposure with red shale and serpentine soils. We planted this block specifically because of the minimal sun exposure. It is the last block that we pick off of Rockpile and it shows in the complexity of flavor. We envisioned this site yielding a Northern Rhone style of Syrah and we have not been disappointed. Meaty and floral in the nose, the wine has a luscious mouth feel. The depth in the palate is only surpassed by the surprising complexity of tannin. Though it is not what you would call a huge wine, I think it will surprise you and age very gracefully, like a good Rhone wine should.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Syrah, Madrone Spring
Westphall Ridge Vineyard
Rockpile
The Westphall Ridge Vineyard is located at nearly 1,250 ft elevation in the Rockpile appellation, the highest in elevation of all of our single vineyard wines. Owned by the Gloeckner family, the vineyard sits at the top of Rockpile Ridge with views of both forks of Lake Sonoma, truly one of the most beautiful places on earth. This vineyard is characterized by its perfect western sun exposures, red soils, and steep slope. Not only did we plant this vineyard for the Gloeckners in the late 1990s, but we have farmed it every day of its existence.

The sun exposure provides phenolic maturity without over ripe flavors, but it's the soil composition and extreme slope are what really set this Zinfandel apart. Easily confused with a Southern Rhone varietal, this wine has an amazing range of flavors. Minerals, meat, and spice dominate the bouquet. The initial flavors in the palate bring you back to the heady land of zinfandel; ripe cherry, raspberry, and dried apricots. Superbly balanced, this wine will taste as good tomorrow as it will in five years.
WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Westphall Ridge Zinfandel
Dry Creek Zinfandel
Upper Pond
Rockpile
The smallest of all of our Rockpile vineyards, this block of zinfandel is less than 200 vines. Affectionately named for the small pond that it overlooks, we had no choice but to make it a separate block. This vineyard exemplifies the diversity of terrior and swiftness with which it changes in Rockpile. With its Northwestern sun exposure, and steep slope, it was just too unique to be included in the lower pond block. One of the only blocks not planted to the St Peters Church zinfandel clone, the DuPratt clone has done extremely well here. Having long bunches and full berries, this fruit is big and round with hefty tannins. The mid palate shows great minerals, an effect of the steep slope and red soils. It’s only too bad that the block wasn’t bigger, or we would definitely make an Upper Pond zinfandel.

WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Ridge Zinfandel
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
Water Trough
Rockpile
The original, 100 year old, claw foot bath tub still serves as a water trough for the livestock in Rockpile. Before there were pumps and automated water lines, there were natural springs. One would channel the water from the spring to a collection point, and that was your watering hole, or in our case, water trough. The bath tub is still fed by the original spring that has been used by Mauritson livestock for generations.

The Water Trough block is the lowest in elevation of all of our Rockpile vineyards. Sitting at 890 ft, it is only 30 yards above the fog line. Not extreme by Rockpile standards, this vineyard still produces fruit that only comes from stressed vines. The typically full Southwestern sun exposure is tempered by the low elevation, large surrounding oak trees, and gentle slopes. The fruit lends itself to bright red flavors and is balanced with bright acidity. Not the most tannic of Rockpile zinfandel, it is the perfect blending component in our Rockpile Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel.

WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD:
Rockpile Ridge Zinfandel
Mauritson Dry Creek Zinfandel
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