Rochioli Vineyards and Winery, Sonoma County

by Stevie on May 18, 2011

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welcome to Rochioli Vineyards and Winery

welcome to Rochioli Vineyards and Winery

I was initially drawn to Rochioli Vineyards and Winery because of my continued enthusiasm for Williams Selyem. The later has a well-known “Rochioli Riverblock Vineyard” bottling and they use some Rochioli grapes in their “Westside Road Neighbors” pinot noir blend. Prince of Pinot writes that Williams and Selyem began buying grapes from Joe Rochioli in 1979, before they were even bonded. So it is a longstanding relationship.

Rochioli has been around a lot longer than Wms Selyem, having been first cultivated to vine in 1938. Now in its third generation, this family run operation continues full steam ahead.

Rochioli is like Wms Selyem in that you need to sign up on a list to have access to their vineyard block specific wines. I joined the queue recently. They estimate it will only take about three years.

Unlike Williams Selyem, where they contract with grape growers in a large assortment of places, Rochioli is all estate produced. There’s a wonderful map of the vineyards that breaks down by grape variety and sometimes, even clone. To me, it looks like it is mostly pinot noir, with some chardonnay and sauvignon blanc then other Bordeaux and Burgundy varieties, syrah and zinfandel. Since I’m mostly excited by the pinot, I wait anxiously for the list to move along.

obviously, this is how rosé got its name

obviously, this is how rosé got its name


feeling romantic at Rochioli Vineyards and Winery

feeling romantic at Rochioli Vineyards and Winery


view towards the Russian River

view towards the Russian River

You don’t need to be “on the list” to visit, which is another difference between these two powerhouse wineries. On the day we went, it was super sunny and crowded. However, I don’t think that it was the excellent weather that brought people out. That weekend was a pick-up one for Rochioli club members, too.

Physically, they’re right across the way from Hop Kiln Winery. There were lovely gardens out front blooming with lots of colorful poppies and other flowers. In back there’s a superb view across the valley toward the Russian River.

We brought Clarence with us. The dog struggled with the warm weather but adored all the attention that the other guests showered upon him.

gorgeous flowers at Rochioli Vineyards and Winery

gorgeous flowers at Rochioli Vineyards and Winery


cheery springtime flowers

cheery springtime flowers

We were able to try three wines that were quite pleasant:

2009 estate chardonnay: According to the guide this is 30% chard from the River Block Vineyard and 70% from the Mid 40 Vineyard.

This was a pale yellow with a tart aroma that included a hint of tar. We noted flower blossoms and peach, other yellow fruit and some creaminess. Good.

sampling the estate chardonnay

sampling the estate chardonnay

2010 estate rosé of pinot noir: This had a remarkable color: a pale orange red that looked almost rusty. It tasted slightly fizzy with loads of fresh strawberries with a pleasant light to medium body and some complexity.

2009 estate pinot noir. The majority (75%) of the grapes for this pinot blend come from the Sweetwater Vineyard with the rest, a mix of all the remaining pinot noir parcels.

This was a transparent purple red with notes of sour cherry, wood chip, clay, and exotic spices. Full bodied and luscious with a good finish, it had hints of sour cherry.

2009 Rochioli estate pinot noir

2009 Rochioli estate pinot noir

A visit to Rochioli is as uncomplicated as it is fun and relaxing.

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Faith May 18, 2011 at 8:38 am

Looks like it was a really great time! I love all your pictures — especially of the gorgeous flowers! Feeling romantic indeed. 😉
Faith recently posted..White Tea Macarons with Cherry PreservesMy Profile

Erica May 18, 2011 at 2:41 pm

This place looks wonderful ! Thanks for sharing!!

Elaine May 18, 2011 at 8:50 pm

Such beautiful photos of their gardens!
Elaine recently posted..May BloomsMy Profile

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