Expensive wine 102: Mauritson Rockpile Zinfandel 2014

Mauritson Rockpile Zinfandel The Mauritson Rockpile Zinfandel is California zinfandel with an intriguing approach

You never stop learning in this business, and anyone who says differently is either lying or doesn’t understand wine. The Mauritson Rockpile Zinfandel is a red wine from California’s Sonoma Valley that proves the point.

Regular visitors here know that the Wine Curmudgeon prefers subtlety, and that many California wines view subtlety as something to be avoided. But since I am always learning, I took a lesson to heart several years ago judging TexSom. My panel had to judge zinfandel – lots and lots of California zinfandels from throughout the state. Yes, some of them were excessive, but as my colleagues showed me, the best wines were tasty and interesting, even if subtlety wasn’t their reason for being.

Hence the Mauritson Rockpile Zinfandel ($41, sample, 14.75%), a classic example of the Napa style – lots and lots of sweet black fruit, black pepper, a little more sweet black fruit, a dash of oak, and then some sweet black fruit for good measure. But the wine is so so powerful, so overwhelming, that it works. And this comes from someone who doesn’t like this style of wine.

This is a fall wine for stews, sausages, braised beef, and the like. And remember to never judge the wine until you taste it.