Theopolis Vineyards is situated in the Yorkville Highlands AVA in the southern part of California’s Mendocino County. Theodora R. Lee is the owner and winemaker, but the winery is not her sole focus. The native Texan is a law firm partner and trial lawyer in San Francisco. She developed a serious interest in wine after moving to San Francisco, which led her to study viticulture at UC Davis, and to make her own wine.
In 2001 Ms. Lee purchased property in Yorkville Highlands and set about preparing the land for planting. By 2003 her 5-acre vineyard was in place and according to the Theopolis Vineyards website:
Ms. Lee adopted her Greek name from pledging Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, and established Theopolis Vineyards.
The rugged Yorkville Highlands AVA straddles Highway 128 just 5 miles west of Cloverdale to the southern end of Anderson Valley. It is defined by its elevation and lies between 850 and 3000 feet above sea level.
High benches and land troughs in the Yorkville Highlands are comprised of rocky soils with gravel and old brittle rock. Other areas are comprised of deeper brittle sandstone, schist, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Quartz and loamy clay are present as well.
Moist marine fog reaches into the high benchlands and land troughs from Anderson Valley many mornings during the growing season. Days are warmer than the Anderson Valley and nights are cooler, resulting in a 40 to 50º diurnal temperature shift in summer. Annual rainfall is about 50 inches.
2018 Theopolis Vineyards Rosé of Petite Sirah, Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County — translucent ruby in the glass with generous aromas and flavors of red cherries, cedar and hints of black pepper, dried herbs and dusty earth with nice acidity. The body is medium with subtle tannins and the finish is medium in length. 13.3% abv. SRP $25. Only 96 cases made.
This dry rosé is a saignée of 100% estate grown Petite Sirah and is aged in neutral French oak for 6 months. It has substance and structure and is easy sipping on its own, but is also a marvelous dining companion. We paired it with roasted salmon, chard and quinoa, which made us quite happy.
Also currently available from Theopolis Vineyards: Estate Petite Sirah, Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley, Santa Lucia Highlands and Yorkville Highlands) and Yorkville Highlands Symphony. We purchased this wine, and two others, directly from the winery and received lightening-fast delivery in spite of the large number of orders recently received by the winery.