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 Bevill Heirloom Vineyard, the Lavender Hill Vineyard, the Cypress Ridge Vineyard, the Landy Vineyard and J Rickards 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.
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.
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.
Cypress Ridge Vineyard
The Cypress Ridge Vineyard is nestled in the rolling hillsides of the northern reaches of the Russian River Valley, off Limerick Lane, in an area renowned for its cool climate Zinfandels. The temperatures in this fog cooled microclimate produce wines with a higher acidity and a lighter, more delicate palate. We are excited to bring this lovingly tended and perfectly situated vineyard into our Zinfandel program.
The Landy Vineyard sits at 1000-foot elevation in the Sweetwater Springs District of the Russian River Valley. This gorgeous vineyard sits atop a knoll above the fog line giving it longer sun exposure than most of the Russian River Valley. We take fruit from 4 different blocks on this ranch, each with unique exposures and soil types. This variety lends to greater character and complexity in the finished wine. We welcome this new addition to our portfolio of vineyard-designate wines.
J Rickards Vineyard
This vineyard is cut into the eastern hillside of “Chianti Mountain” in Alexander Valley. The 35-year old vines were field grafted with heritage clones from Dry Creek Valley, so long ago that no one can remember exactly which vineyard the cuttings came from. Whatever the clone, this steep hillside site is producing grapes with bright vibrant fruit, and bold powerful tannin, that are classic representations of their varietal and vineyard location.
We also make an Old Vine Zinfandel, blended from premium vineyards in Sonoma County.
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