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John Tyler Wines first produced a Pinot Noir from estate grapes in 2002, with Tyler Heck as the winemaker. The John Tyler Pinot Noirs have been a mix of Pommard clone and old Wente selection from the Bacigalupi’s Frost Ranch Vineyard. The wines were vinified with the structure to age, speaking more of savory notes than fruit, and possessing well-structured tannins that required time to soften and integrate.
In 2013, the name of the winery began transitioning from John Tyler Wines to Bacigalupi Wines to honor the The Bacigalupi family are Russian River Valley originals, with a history of farming on Westside Road dating back to 1956 when Charles and Helen Bacigalupi bought the 121-acre Goddard Ranch. Today, the Goddard Ranch has 120 vineyard acres and is the oldest ranch that the Bacigalupi's farm. This property contains the Chardonnay planted to an old Wente clone that was one of the main sources of the legendary 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the 1976 Paris Tasting as well as old Wente selection of Pinot Noir.
Charles’ son, John, was raised on the Goddard Ranch and after a lifetime of winegrowing experience, teamed with his spouse, Pam Heck Bacigalupi, and fourth-generation nephew and winemaker, Tyler Heck, to found John Tyler wines. The Bacigalupi family’s third-generation twin sister daughters, Nicole and Katey, became the face of John Tyler Wines and were instrumental in the building of a stylish tasting room on Westside Road where the wines were featured.
The first releases bearing the Bacigalupi label were from the 2011 vintage and are vinified by new consulting winemaker Ashley Hertzberg. She developed her winemaking skills working with noted winemakers Merry Edwards, Anthony Austin and Scott Covington, and later as a consulting winemaker for Saini Vineyards and Amista Vineyards. Along with the change in winemakers has come a stylistic change in the wines as well. They are now more gracious upon release, more approachable and enticing, yet still retain the potential for age-worthiness.
The Bacigalupi wines are available at the winery’s tasting room (photo below) located in Healdsburg on Westside Road and the online website store at www.johntylerwines.com. The Bacigalupi twins staff the tasting room and are delightful hosts. The Bacigalupi wines have a pedigree, a legacy and a family that embraces the consumer’s interest.
2015 Bacigalupi Russian River Valley Rosé of Pinot Noir
14.1% alc., 75 cases, $30. 34% Wente clone, 33% Pommard clone, 33% clone 667. Brix at harvest 24.3º. The 667 was de-stemmed, gently crushed and sat on skins for 8 years, then pressed and cold fermented for 3 weeks. The Wente and Pommard grapes were destemmed, placed into tank, and at 24 hours a saignée was done. The rosé was fermented separately for 3.5 weeks until dryness, then blended and stored 4 months in neutral oak barrels until bottling. · Moderately deep pinkish red color in the glass. This is the heartiest, ripest and darkest colored of the rosé wines reviewed for this article. Deep aromas of dark red berries, watermelon, orange zest and a hint of toast. Robust flavors of darker cherry, strawberry, black raspberry and blackberry are offered in a softly textured and mid weight wine. This wine drinks more like a still Pinot Noir. Score: 88. Reviewed May 6, 2016 ARTICLE »
2014 Bacigalupi Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 200 cases, pH 3.60, TA 0.60, $65. 57% Wente clone, 43% Pommard clone. Harvest Brix 25.4º. 100% de-stemmed. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 40% new, with lees stirring. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple color in the glass. Hard to coax much fruit out of the primary nose which offers mainly aromas of oak-driven toast and espresso at this stage. Much more expressive on the palate with a mid weight core of black cherry fruit that is ripe and fresh. The texture is lush and seamless, but the finish is only modest and the oak treatment is a tad heavy-handed. Score: 88. Reviewed June 5, 2015 ARTICLE »
2014 Bacigalupi Vineyards Goddard Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., pH 3.59, TA 0.61, 95 cases, $70. Inaugural bottling in honor of the Bacigalupi’s 60th anniversary of farming premium grapes in the Russian River Valley. Harvest Brix 25.0º. 100% Wente clone. 100% de-stemmed, fermented whole berries. Aged in French oak barrels, 40% new, with lees stirring. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate reddish purple hue in the glass. The nose is entirely seductive, sporting bright aromas of Bing cherry, rhubarb and spice. Deeply flavored with well-ripened cherry fruit accented with notes of cola and dark cocoa. Elegant and charming, with velvety tannins and deftly integrated oak. Score: 91. Reviewed June 5, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Bacigalupi Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.2% alc., 166 cases, $56 (sold out). Unfined and unfiltered. Vines grafted from the original vineyard that supplied the grapes to the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the 1976 Paris Tasting. · Moderate light golden yellow color in the glass. The nose displays aromas of lemon oil, star fruit, toasty oak and lees. Slightly creamy in the mouth, with flavors of citrus, pear and kiwi set off by a toasty almond note. Very satisfying with a juicy, lip-smacking finish well endowed with oak highlights. Score: 90. Reviewed December 12, 2015 ARTICLE »
2013 Bacigalupi Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 232 cases, $65 (sold out). Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Lovely perfume of Bing cherry, rose petal, spice and toasted oak. The medium-bodied core of fresh black cherry fruit is complimented by smoky oak and nicely composed t n’ a. Very juicy and vibrant on the finish. Score: 90. Reviewed December 12, 2015 ARTICLE »
2012 Bacigalupi Russian River Valley Chardonnay
14.1% alc., 179 cases, $56. The vines that produced this Chardonnay were grafted from the original vineyard that supplied grapes to the 1973 Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that won the coveted 1976 Paris Tasting. Brix at harvest 24º. Barrel fermented, 90% MLF, lees stirring every other week for 9 months, aged 11 months in 50% new Francois Frères medium toast French oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderate golden yellow color and clear in the glass. I couldn’t pull my nose away from the glass which offered aromas of pineapple, grilled lemon, white peach, and butterscotch. A seamless, relatively plush wine with just the right spark of acidity and contribution from oak. More minerality is evident on the palate which offers flavors of lemon, crème brûlée, and tropical fruits. A beautiful thing. Score: 93. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »
2012 Bacigalupi Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., 300 cases, $65. 63% Wente and 37% Pommard clones. Brix at harvest 25.8º. 100% de-stemmed, whole berry fermentation. Inoculated with AMH yeast. Total cold soak and fermentation 19 days. Lees stirring weekly during malolactic fermentation and every other week thereafter. Aged 11 months in 42% new and 58% used French Francois Frères oak barrels. Unfined and unfiltered. · Moderately light reddish purple color in the glass. Bright aromas of Bing cherries, strawberries, blackberries, forest floor and complimentary oak. Plenty of nuance to discover in this wine which offers flavors of dark cherry, sassafras, anise, exotic cinnamon spice, herbs and cola. Refined, seamless and quite approachable with balanced tannins and acidity and a clean, pleasant cherry-driven finish. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle predictive of age ability. Awesome! Score: 94. Reviewed April 19, 2014 ARTICLE »