There’s a good reason that, until the 1960s, Petite Sirah was the most widely planted grape variety in Napa Valley. As demonstrated by the few remaining examples, grown in the right places it produces something quite special, making lovely, evocative wine even darker and spicier than Zinfandel, that other “California grape” from Europe.
If Napa had only had the guts to stick with Petite through the renaissance that transformed Californian wine, it would have been a more distinctive and interesting choice upon which to hang one’s regional hat than today’s dictatorial monarch, Cabernet Sauvignon.
Deeply coloured with a perfumed nose of sandalwood, clove, cinnamon, black pepper and smoke lead. Bright mouthfeel with refined tannins and a long complex finish.
After nearly 45 years in the wine business, Joel Peterson has returned to his roots with Once & Future, a small, hands on project focusing on pure expressive wines from unique historic vineyards in California. Some of the sites he works with are over 100 years old, and many are ungrafted.
Zinfandel is a passion of his, he helped found ZAP (Zinfandel Advocates and Producers) and supports the Historic Vineyard Society. He's returned to many of the original vineyards: Oakley, Sangiacomo and Teldeschi that he became familiar with while at Ravenswood. These are joined by the acclaimed Bedrock vineyard which he bought with his son Morgan to avoid it being ripped up.
Joel describes the project best: “Once and Future is the return to the original vision I had for Ravenswood so many years ago - a small project specialising in wines from unique older vineyards, made with a sensitivity to place and in a style that I personally love and believe in - wines that force me to dust off the old redwood vats… wines that dye my hands a harvest shade of black/purple and sometimes force me to take an additional Ibuprofen in the morning. In short - wines of sweat, commitment, and love.”