Clay Mauritson joins The Wine Down to bring some outrageous varietals from his family imprint, Mauritson Wines, and discuss the details of soil, terrain, and elevation of the Rockpile Appellation.
Clay is one of the most knowledgeable wine makers we know, and to hear him talk about the environmental impact on the grapes, as well as the distinct traits of different soil is almost intimidating. That is, until his easy going demeanor keeps the character of the conversation down to earth.
It goes to show that in the age of mass produced wines, to be an independent winemaker requires more knowledge than ever. Drink up!
Clay Mauritson’s family has been farming in what is now known as the Rockpile Appellation, since 1884. The Mauritson family label finds its home in Dry Creek, home to some of the most awarded wines in California.
From his appearance in the Rose Bowl to the Cotton Bowl as an Outside Linebacker for the Oregon Ducks, Clay now finds himself carrying on as the 6th generation grape grower and winemaker. He now combines his family’s vineyards with those of his own in the heralded Dry Creek Appellation, located just outside of Healdsburg where he resides with his wife Carrie-Anne, his two sons and two dogs.
00:01 Welcome to the Wine Down.
00:50 Introducing Clay Mauritson of Mauritson Wines.
02:12 The 140 year history of the Mauritson family in California–from sheep to grapes.
04:34 The Mauritson family loses land through eminent domain.
05:30 Not being compensated fairly by the government for thousands of acres.
08:05 Creating a separate AVA for Rockpile–a miniscule area of growing.
09:30 Attributes of the hillside environment for growing.
13:34 The importance of claiming a separate AVA.
15:40 The pyramid of wines and the hierarchy of terroir.
16:32 The concept of single-soil wine.
19:32 Growing the proper varietals in the right place, and why filoxera was the best thing to happen to the California wine industry.
21:53 Tasting the Rockpile Rosé.
23:04 Soil broken down.
25:53 “95% fruit and 5% not screwing it up.”
26:53 Being able to taste the soils in the wine.
29:06 Dry Creek, Russian River and Rockpile and Sonoma County distinctions.
31:48 The second greatest asset of Mauritson Wines.
33:40 An equation for costing fruit vs. bottle prices.
35:25 The actual gross of growing high quality fruit, and contracts based per acre.
39:27 Tasting the Sauvignon Blanc.
41:59 “What made you decide to go into football, and how did football guide you there?”
44:40 The prodigal son returns to the family farm.
47:58 Tasting the Dry Creek Zinfandel–the most difficult grape to grow.
50:17 Thanks and Cheers!