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
This special 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.
The Watson Ranch was planted by Ruth and Wilbur Watson in the mid 1940’s on a picturesque east facing hillside in upper Dry Creek Valley. These gnarled old vines are dry farmed, but they have been on that hillside so long their roots have found consistent water and they have regulated the perfect amount of grapes to produce. Not much seems to faze these monster Zin vines. The fruit we get from this ranch is dark and concentrated, with layers of dark brambly berries. Map
In 1956 Charles and Helen Bacigalupi purchased 121 acres on Westside Road, in the Russian River Valley. Originally just 16 acres were planted to vines, but they planted more over the years envisioning the growing demand for premium wine grapes in this area. Grapes from their vineyard played a role in the turning point of how the world viewed wines from California. Their Chardonnay grapes made up 40% of the wine that won the famed 1976 Paris Tasting where Chateau Montelena’s Chardonnay triumphed over many acclaimed French wines. In addition to Chardonnay, the Bacigalupi family also grows beautiful Zinfandel. This cooler climate vineyard brings a bright fruit component to Zinfandel, and offers a more delicate mouthfeel while delivering soft spice undertones and delicious dark fruit components. Map
Susan and Gary Halling purchased land in Dry Creek Valley with the intention of growing ultra premium wine grapes. After consulting with renowned vineyard manager Ulises Valdez in 1999, they realized Zinfandel was perfect for this hillside site just above the valley floor, with its beautiful red soils, and east facing exposure. They were able to get cuttings from a 100-year-old vineyard up on Bradford mountain, planted to the Hambrecht clone. Susan and Gary are meticulous farmers, with every intention of growing the highest quality grapes, and it truly shows. The Halling Vineyard Zinfandel is a fantastic representation of the depth, complexity, and power that can come from Dry Creek Valley. Map
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.
TR Passalacqua Vineyard
In 2013 Tom Passalacqua found the steepest hillside, up to 50-degree slopes in some areas, on his sprawling 400 acre ranch and declared he would plant 5 acres of Zinfandel. With 130 acres already under vine, and planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, this was a surprising turn of events. But he was inspired by Zinfandels he had tasted from rugged terrain and on hillsides with up to 60-degree slopes. He loved the intensity of flavor and structure that came from these struggling vines. Map
We also make PQZ, a blend from premium vineyards in Sonoma County.