Sunday, October 25, 2009

A Legacy From the Dry Creek Valley

As everyone probably knows by now, I am fond of Zinfandel. Rich and majestic, spicy and decadent. I can't get enough of the stuff. One day, I received a message from a Dry Creek Valley (Sonoma) winemaker, Glenn Proctor. "Have you ever tried my Zinfandel?" he asked. To which I replied, "No." He sent me a couple samples and my life has not been the same since. Not only was I wowed by his wine but the story behind it is amazing...

Glenn Proctor wears many hats. He is a family man--father of two, husband, winemaker and owner Puccioni Ranch, which was started by his great-grandfather, Angelo Puccioni, an Italian immigrant who planted the first Zinfandel vines on the property in 1904. The two-hundred acre property is tucked away in a forested area of Dry Creek Valley and has been in the family for four generations. He is also a partner with Joseph W. Ciatti Company, a bulk wine and grape brokerage. All of this stems from a colorful history, which includes a master's degree in horticulture from U.C. Davis, a stint as director at Benziger Winery in Glen Ellen and Vice-President of Winegrowing for Diageo. Glenn has accomplished a lot in such a short time. His latest project, winemaker and general manager of Puccioni Vineyards is his labor of love.

Puccioni Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel is made from the old vines on his property and fifty year-old vines from a cousin's property. It is a handcrafted, very small production (260 cases) wine and is not to be missed by anyone. Exemplifying everything I love and look for in a Zinfandel, it contains rich layers of blackberry jam, spice, cedar and coffee combined with a long, lingering finish. The 2006 vintage, released in February of this year, is exceptional and such a great value at $28 a bottle. (He also makes a very limited amount of Petite Sirah--50 cases.) The bottle's label displays a mule named Prince, the last of the mules the family used to help in farming the land. In fact, Glenn's family was the last Sonoma County family to use mules for such practice. The mules have immortalized in the name of the Puccioni Vineyards wine club--Puccioni Mules. Glenn was taught by family how to use the mule and plow at the tender age of four. What an awesome story! I'm sure Glenn is very proud. I am looking forward to shaking his hand some day and seeing the property myself firsthand when I visit Healdsburg again next year.

The 2006 Puccioni Vineyards Old Vine Zinfandel is not distributed but can be purchased directly at I highly recommend everyone get to know this wine. It is such a wonderful and rare find and definitely worth seeking out...

1 comment:

  1. What a wonderful story about an amazing man, his legacy and his wine. Thanks!