Rochioli Vineyards is a 161-acre winery in the Russian River Valley. Though the winery wasn’t founded until 1982, the Rochioli family has been farming land in the Russian River Valley since the early 20th century, and in fact it still supplies grapes to other producers. Joe Rochioli Sr. bought land in the valley in 1938, and the winery is today owned and operated by the Rochioli family. The estate makes Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. Robert M. Parker Jr. has noted that the winery is “run by one of the outstanding grape-growing and winemaking families of Sonoma, Tom and Joe Rochioli. Everything here is of terrific quality…”
Russian River Valley AVA is named for the river that meanders from Mendocino County in the north until it finally runs into the Pacific Ocean north of San Francisco. The AVA is cool thanks to its proximity to the northern California coast and the river, and grape growers must learn to deal with regular fog. Nevertheless in recent decades the AVA has become one of the best in the state, meaning that its wines often earn excellent reviews and have considerable cachet. The AVA status was awarded in 1983 and today the appellation has 15,000 vineyard acres. Chardonnay is the most widely planted grape though Pinot Noir has also been very successful in recent decades. Russian River Valley Pinot Noir are known for being rich, lush and filled with concentrated fruit and berry flavors. Russian River Pinot Noirs are today considered some of the best domestic Pinot Noirs.
Zinfandel is a black-skinned grape, but 85% of the wine produced is made into a rosy “White Zinfandel.” Red Zin is far more complex and bold, while still being light-bodied. It grows in popularity as winemakers continue to experiment with new styles and blends.