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.