Merlot from the Sangiacomo runs deep in Joel's blood, having previously made wine from this vineyard for Ravenswood since 1989. However, in the early 2000s, Ravenswood's owners decided to stop producing Merlot to focus more on the ever popular Zinfandel.
A few years later, Joel's son Morgan discovered that the vines still exist and the owners were willing to sell some of the block's remaining Merlot fruit. The combination of the gravel clay-loam soils and strong Carneros winds (which tend to reduce yields), results in what we think is one of the most delicious Merlots in California.
Rich fruit, herbs, vanilla, and cedar. Velvety texture and full cherry berry flavours, accented with hints of tar and mineral. Tannins are ripe and there is a bright acidity.
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.”