In the late 1990s, after a long and fruitless search for vineyard land in Napa Valley, Eric Grigsby and Mary Rocca discovered a 12-acre parcel set on a little knoll just south of the Stags Leap line. The couple commissioned a viticultural consultancy to dig several dozen pilot holes to evaluate the makeup of the soils and the viability of planting. While the conclusion of the study suggested a particularly rocky terrain, given the neighborhood, that hardly seemed out of the ordinary. The deal was consummated a month later.
But as is so often the case in the winegrowing business, appearances can be deceiving. While the soil studies spoke of a rocky substrata, nothing Mary or Eric read prepared them for the task at hand. After the first passes by the land rippers went for naught, the crew went for the gusto and brought in the dynamite. The blasts were heard for miles up and down the Silverado Trail. When the dust settled, fragments of solid rock were strewn all over the “Collinetta” — before the D10s rolled back in for the mop-up. It would take months for the vineyard crew to carve Cabernet Sauvignon into a vineyard that came to be known as “Dynamite Hill.”
It was about this time that Mary Rocca began putting out feelers for a winemaker. Rocca aimed high, but with the Napa Valley wine market percolating, the most established talent was oversubscribed. Finally, in 1999, Mary was introduced to a young woman who had been drawing raves for her work at Staglin. While neither Rocca nor Grigsby knew it at the time, that introduction to Celia Welch (Staglin, Cora, and Scarecrow) would lift “Dynamite Hill” into the critical limelight.
In Issue #204, The Wine Advocate ignited the vintage fire, calling 2010 an “epic” Napa Valley vintage, making for “viscerally thrilling wines loaded with character and personality.” A short time later, Wine Spectator piled on with a cover story that featured Hall of Famer Tom Seaver holding a crystal stem filled with his 2010 Diamond Mountain GTS. The headline read “2010 California Cabernet: A Classic Vintage for the Cellar.” Such was the case on Rocca’s Dynamite Hill.
The 2010 Rocca Family Vineyards “Vespera” is a muscular blend of 59% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Petit Verdot, and 17% Petite Sirah. Inky purple-black. Finely delineated aromas of blackberry, licorice, and crushed rock. Densely packed, chewy texturally, and still perfectly primary, the core is infused with blackberry and mountain blueberry preserves. Highly mineral and energetic, finishing with sophisticated tannins and great length. Drink now-2023.
$50 on release. $25 today — NO MISPRINT — exclusively on WineAccess. Shipping included on 4.
Best Bordeaux blend in many years....
This is nearly a 5. I'm sorry I only order one case it was such a bargain. Dark and rich. BlackBerry and plumb compliment hints of toasted oak and vanilla. Smooth and balanced
This one sets up nicely for sipping or dinner.
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