The making of Passalacqua Zinfandel starts with selecting exceptional vineyards, many of them here in Dry Creek Valley. We craft vineyard-designate wines from our Estate Vineyard, the Maple Vineyard, the Bevill Heirloom Vineyard and the Lavender Hill Vineyard. Designating the vineyard on the label means that 95% of the wine must come from that vineyard, so the selection of great vineyards that stand on their own is paramount.
Our Estate Vineyard is comprised of 1.5 acres of light-loam, well-drained soil that slopes down toward Lambert Bridge Road. Jason and his father, Tom Passalacqua, prune these old head-trained vines themselves, dropping fruit to reduce the yield to about two tons per acre. Lowering the fruit level while keeping leaf and fruit development in balance concentrates the flavors by focusing the vines’ finite energy on the remaining fruit. This site produces a Zinfandel with deep blackberry and black raspberry flavors and moderate pepperiness. Read more about our Estate Zinfandel.
The Maples, Tom and Tina, have an old, head-trained vineyard on the prized eastern bench of Dry Creek Valley, just above Dry Creek Road. They're dry-farmed, gnarly old vines, much pampered by the Maples' personal attention. Since the vines are unirrigated, flavors are well concentrated but harvesting at the right time and keeping proper crop load are essential. The vineyard is notorious for yielding deeply colored, richly flavored, spicy Zins that only a mixed vineyard can provide. Read more about our Maple Vineyard Zinfandel.
Bevill Heirloom Zinfandel
Our newest vineyard-designate Zinfandel gets its big, rich flavor from a very unique plot blending Dry Creek Valley history and the fruit character for which this appellation is renowned. Bevill Heirloom Zinfandel Block is home to grape clones from five legendary area vineyards, most of which date to the late 1800s and continue to produce fruit for harvest. With the aim of preserving Dry Creek Valley’s storied winegrowing tradition, Duff Bevill and his team planted the block in 1999 using Zinfandel budwood from the Beeson, Cuneo, Guadagni, Hambrecht and Teldeschi vineyards. Today this lively family gathering produces delicious Zinfandel fruit, with the vineyard’s varied terroir creating rich nuances within each row of vines. Watch for the first release of Bevill Heirloom Zinfandel in 2010.
Lavender Hill Vineyard
Lavender Hill Vineyard is a south-facing hillside location, offering ample sun, rich, rocky soil and perfect climate conditions for growing Primitivo. The vines of Lavender Hill receive just enough water throughout the growing season to keep the fruit maturing to perfection. Thought to be the European twin of Zinfandel, Primitivo is a grape rich in history and lore but just beginning to become popular. It is an early ripening grape, yet one that produces juicy, well-structured wines rich with pigment and concentration. One of our smallest production wines, the Primitivo sells out quickly. Watch for the 2007 Lavender Hill Primitivo's release in 2010.
Viti della Nebbia
Viti della Nebbia, or “vines of the fog,” is so called for its elevation of 700 feet above the Russian River Valley floor, high up in the marine layer that blankets the valley in the summer. The rocky ridge topsoils of this site create stress on the vines that's needed to produce concentrated, ripe berry flavors. The marine layer persists in the morning, but once it burns off, the afternoon sun ripens the grapes evenly while their proximity to the cool Russian River Valley allows longer hang time, giving Viti della Nebbia especially deep, rich fruit flavors. Read more about Viti della Nebbia.
We also make Zinfandels blended from premium vineyards in Sonoma County, each with its own unique style:
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