Sprouting from heavy cobblestone and fractured basalt, the world-class vineyards of “The Rocks District” have no comparison. The Wine Spectator calls this AVA “perhaps America’s most distinctive example of terroir.” Ali says, “there is no other place on Earth like it.”
It is a terroir as unique as the wines it births -- which now include The Walls.
“...although from barrel, the meaty, gamey Rocks scented 2014 Syrah Concrete Mama offers tons of peppery meats. Bacon fat, olive and ripe dark fruits in a voluptuous, supple, rounded, sexy style that’s just impossible to resist. 92-94 points.”
-- Jeb Dunnuck, Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Concrete Mama is The Walls’ premium, small-lot label. These wines are born from the Rocks District and bred “on the rocks” in tanks of cool concrete. Rocks District fruit is given the white glove treatment by The Walls winemaking team, allowing the beauty of the site to shine. Our first release is a 2014 Syrah.
The creation of “The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater” can be traced back 12,000 - 15,000 years, to the Missoula floods. During this time of geologic drama, massive floods swept through the Pacific Northwest caused by ruptures in the ice dam that created glacial Lake Missoula in Montana. These floods overtook the Walla Walla valley at least 35 times and left vast deposits of silt. As the floods receded, the Walla Walla river again found its course and slowly swept away the silt, leaving cobblestone and pebbles made of basalt from the nearby Blue Mountains. This gravel formed a 12-square mile alluvial fan of 3,770 acres. The chemistry of these soils is different from surrounding soil: the Walla Walla AVA is granite-derived silica, sodium and potassium. The Rocks District is basalt, rich in iron, magnesium and titanium.
This unique terroir acts different than other soils as well. The coarse landscape allows for excessive drainage causing vines to cast roots far deeper than in more silty soil. The stones heat up during the day, absorbing the sun’s energy and sending it deep into the land. The heat also radiates upwards, warming grape clusters day and night.
Grapes grown in this area have a very distinct aroma and flavor profile, more savory than sweet. Whereas most wines are described in terms of fruit, Rocks District wines tend to inspire descriptors such as brine, bacon, and “the funk”. The naturally high pH gives wines a distinct mouthfeel many call “plush” with a beautiful minerality. “I say to people that looking at cobblestone is kind of what these wines taste like,” says Ali. “It’s like if you could taste rolling the cuffs of your jeans up and planting your feet in a cool river of rock.”
We are also very excited to share this wine with you because, as Mike says, “Concrete Mama is, in a way, a glimpse into our long-term growth plans.” A 2015 Syrah, 2016 Grenache and, eventually, some Bordeaux varietals are on the release horizon, thanks to our partners at some of the Rocks District's premier vineyards. With these, we hope to give you a sense of how our winemaking style translates this unique terroir. This vision will come to further fruition this Spring when we break ground on our estate vineyard in the Southern Walla Walla Valley in Milton-Freewater. The planting of our 18 acres will be overseen by Napa/Sonoma grape-growing legend, Phil Coturri. This is such a special opportunity that we are carefully planning every detail -- nothing but the best from the beginning.
Don’t procrastinate! These wines will be snapped up fast and we want to be sure you get your take. We will be limiting quantities for purchase to spread the wealth but it is expected to sell out quickly.
$220 for a 3-bottle pack. Free ground shipping (within the continental U.S.) is included.