In the heart of Napa Valley, in the Rutherford appellation to be exact, grows a vineyard that is a throwback to Napa Valley’s past. This vineyard was planted in 1920 by Charlie Volpi on Zinfandel Lane (where else would you expect to find great Zin in Napa?) well before Cabernet Sauvignon became the dominate Napa Valley grape. It was planted early enough so that the dry farmed vines are on St. George rootstock, head pruned with 8x8 spacing, but late enough so that it is all of one variety, 100% Zinfandel. It is likely that varietally labeled grapes were easier sell to home winemakers during prohibition. The soil in this vineyard is Bale loam which is typical of Napa Valley floor vineyards.
For many years this vineyard was preserved and cared for by Dr. Bill Dickerson. He was a serious wine lover and collector. The pressure on him to pull out these old vines and plant Cabernet Sauvignon must have been great, but he persisted, having developed a respect for the history, tradition and quality that these old shy bearing (1.5 to 2 tons/acre) vines represent. I began working with Dickerson vineyard in 1982, not so long after I released my first wines from Ravenswood. Dickerson became one of the most popular of the Ravenswood Single Vineyard designated Zinfandels. The wines were dramatic. Cedar cigar box, mint and red raspberries were descriptors frequently used to describe the wine. At least part of that drama came from the very large Eucalyptus trees that were planted at the north end of the vineyard. A few years ago, one of those trees threatened to fall and was removed. This also removed some of the minty aromatic overlay revealing the true nature of the vibrant red fruited Zinfandel underneath. I had the good fortune to start receiving a small amount of the Dickerson vineyard fruit for Once & Future wine in 2019.
Joel's Tasting Notes - The 2019 Dickerson Zinfandel is pure Zinfandel. Brilliant, but not dark in color. Bright red currents, raspberry fruit and baking spice scents with hints of mint and cedar aromas are supported by the subtle vanilla and toast of the French oak (40% new). Bright, mouthwatering and juicy on the palate, the wine finishes with soft tannins that are pleasing and do not detract from the freshness or purity of this wine.
100-year-old vines, 8x8 head pruned, picked 9/17/2019, 15% Alcohol, pH 3.61, TA 6.1 g/L, 150 cases bottled in November 2020.