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2015 BEST Zinfandel: Mauritson Wines

Author: Cerrissa Kim
May, 2015 Issue

“You can never rest on your laurels in this industry.” —Clay Mauritson

Clay Mauritson, winemaker and owner of Mauritson Wines, says, “It’s gratifying when you have a seven-year plan and it comes to fruition.” With new plantings in the Rockpile AVA along with additional vines added to some of its single-vineyard sites, it’s clear that even though the winery’s Zins were voted BEST Of this year (and in years past), this winery continues to make additions and improvements, always striving to make the best wine possible. “You can never rest on your laurels in this industry,” says Mauritson, noting there are many outstanding Zinfandels produced in this area. Mauritson’s winery is always pushing the envelope by taking the incredible grapes grown on its family-owned property and doing the best job it can to showcase the excellence of its vineyards in the bottle.
Mauritson says everyone involved with the winery is almost giddy about the quality of wines that have been produced during the past three vintages. That includes his father, Thom, and his three brothers, Robert, Blake and Cameron, who manage the vineyards. Mauritson gives full credit to the success of the farming side of the business to his father and brothers, who continue to produce stellar harvests of the thin-skinned, delicate grapes that are unique to Zinfandel. “Great wine is made in the vineyard. You can’t make a great wine without great fruit,” says Mauritson. Crafting those grapes into wine is Mauritson himself along with his winemaking associate, Emma Kudritzki Hall. Mauritson says it takes a village to produce the wines and credits all the winery staff for making this venture a success.
Looking back at the past 25 years, Mauritson says, “The 2013 vintage is probably the best we’ve ever produced as a whole.” He says the 2014 wines are in still in barrels, but they’re showing signs that that they may be even better than the amazing 2013 vintage. “It’s kind of like splitting hairs, because the vintages appear to be so close.”
There are also some capital improvements taking place around the winery. Some of the wine will soon be made in upright oak tanks, which will allow for the incorporation of a little more oxygen during the fermentation process, and a new cellar is being built to showcase 18 years worth of Mauritson wines. VIP customers and select guests, as well as winery staff, will have access to the wine library, where they can educate themselves on how these special wines age and evolve.
“Winning this award is such an unbelievable honor—and incredibly humbling—with so many great Zinfandels out there and incredible winemakers who make this unique varietal.” When asked what makes Mauritson Wines stand out among so many other notable Zins, Mauritson says one of the defining factors is the Rockpile property. Mauritson Winery makes seven Rockpile Zinfandels. In 1868, Mauritson’s great, great, great grandfather, a Swedish immigrant, laid claim to the rugged terrain now known for Zinfandel, paving the way for his descendents to become the largest vineyard owners in the Rockpile AVA.


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