Having experienced an over-the-top luscious and peppery Pinot Noir several years ago, whose grapes were sourced from Bacigalupi Vineyards, I set out on a mission to find the mother lode. Winding scenic country roads on the upper westside of the Russian River Valley led me to the homestead-like tasting room.
Nicole Bacigalupi welcomed me into the cozy tasting room and filled my head with family stories that would make a fabulous Lifetime movie. Bacigalupi Vineyards was founded by her grandparents, Charles and Helen Bacigalupi in 1956. Planted primarily in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the original rootstock was obtained from Russian River Pinot Pioneer, Karl Wente.
Charles Bacigalupi’s earliest claim to fame was selling his Chardonnay grapes to Jim Barrett at Chateau Montelena, who produced the top award-winning 1973 Chardonnay at the historic Paris Tasting in 1976. While the American win put Napa Valley on the map, 40% of those Chardonnay grapes were actually sourced from Bacigalupi Vineyards in Sonoma County.
On the lighter side of the tasting menu is the 2014 Bacigalupi Rose of Pinot Noir. A delicate blend of two Pinot Noir clones, aged in neutral oak, imparting ripe strawberry notes with a zest of green apple acidity.
Grafted from the 1976 Paris Tasting block, the 2013 Bacigalupi Chardonnay is very aromatic with white peach essence, honey-dew melon and creamy vanilla overtones.
For me, the 2013 Bacigalupi Pinot Noir was why I sought out Bacigalupi Vineyards. Bright cherry and sweet strawberry, vanilla and cassis with warm spices and cola notes make it a stellar wine.
Besides Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Bacigalupi Vineyards produces small lots of Zinfandel and Petit Sirah.
Bacigalupi Vineyards is a magical enclave in the Russian River Valley, with so much history. If only the vines could talk… www.bacigalupivineyards.com