Once & Future 2021 Zinfandel, Bacigalupi Vineyard, Russian River Valley

Item Number: 19463

UPC: None

Country: USA
Region: California
Sub Region: Sonoma
Appellation/AVA: Russian River Valley
Estate Grown Wine: No
Vineyard Designation: Bacigalupi Vineyard
Vintage: 2021
Grape(s): 85% Zinfandel / 15% Petite Sirah
Type: Wine - Red
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Pack: 12
Closure: Cork
Alc by Vol(%): 15.2
Total Acidity: 6.1 g/L
pH: 3.7
Case Production: 202

Vintage Notes by Vinous 1/2023: “The 2021s are brilliant across the board, as readers will see in the accompanying tasting notes. The Zinfandels from Bacigalupi, Green & Red and Teldeschi are all notable, as is the Merlot from the Sangiacomo family's Kiser ranch in Carneros. Once & Future is exactly what the name suggests – rooted in the past yet forward-looking. Quite simply, the 2021s are compelling.”

Joel's Notes: "For years I made wine from Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and mixed black vineyards in the Russian River Valley. Belloni Vineyard was one of the most delicious, interesting wines I made at Ravenswood, full of dark blue, high-toned fruit flavors generated by the relatively cool marine- influenced climate of the Russian River Valley. This part of Sonoma County has become known for excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes, which require this kind of climate to produce their best flavors. In fact, the Montelena Chardonnay that won the 1976 Paris tasting was from the Bacigalupi Vineyard in the Russian River Valley.

However, it wasn’t always this way. At one time, Zinfandel was the dominant variety in this region. Zinfandel matures slowly here. In most years, ripe flavors develop in conjunction with sugar ripeness, unlike warmer regions where Zinfandel’s propensity for uneven ripeness and elevated sugar levels forces a winemaker to make a choice between a high flavor, high alcohol, powerful wine and a more balanced wine with less mature flavor.

When I left Ravenswood and started Once & Future, I was unable to take the Belloni Vineyard contract with me. This left me looking for a good Russian River vineyard to work with. Unfortunately, most of the best vineyards had been picked up by Mike Officer at Carlisle or by my own son Morgan at Bedrock Wine Company.

For a number of years, Williams Selyem has been making an excellent Zinfandel from the aforementioned Bacigalupi Vineyard, so when Nikki Bacigalupi called and asked if I might be interested in Zinfandel from the family’s vineyard, I was intrigued.

As it turned out, the grapes were not the same as Williams Selyem’s. They were from another Bacigalupi ranch, the Frost Ranch. Quoting the Bacigalupis, “It is a stone’s throw away from the Russian River, which provides the vineyard with a blanket of fog every morning that slowly burns off to reveal the warm afternoon sun.” The vines are bilaterally cordon-trained Zinfandel on their own roots and Petite Sirah, planted on the east side of the Russian River Valley in 1991 in Goldridge soils, surrounded by Pinot Noir and Chardonnay plantings. Generally, I try to work with older head-pruned Zinfandel, but after spending time with the vineyard-raised John Bacigalupi and his wonderful wife, Pam, who drives a Peterbilt diesel truck, and tasting the wine made from this vineyard, I decided to give it a try. I am glad I did. The resulting wine from Once & Future is everything I could ask for in a Russian River Zinfandel: loads of high-toned blue/black fruit aromatics, bright acidity, and a very pretty, structured finish."