‘Godfather of Zin’ Joel Peterson launches wine range in UK

Drinks: Drinks, Wines

Joel Peterson, aka the Godfather of Zin, and one of the best known names in the California wine scene, is launching his own range of single vineyard wines into the UK.

The Once & Future wines focus on some of the oldest vineyards in the Golden State, with many vines on their original rootstocks.

There are currently seven wines in the range, a Merlot, a Mataro (Mourvedre) and a Petite Sirah. But the majority of the wines are Zinfandels, Peterson’s great love and his speciality.

Peterson founded the Ravenswood label 40 years ago, specialising in Zins from across California, and he has drawn on that experience, and those grower contacts again for Once & Future.

‘Once & Future is the return to the original vision I had for Ravenswood – 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,’ said Peterson, who is hand-crafting all the wines himself.

‘[These are] 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,’ he commented.

The Zinfandels are from vineyards across California, from the Russian River Valley and Sonoma to Contra Costa County and Dry Creek Valley. The youngest vines are 112 years old, with the Bedrock Valley Zin (Sonoma) from 128 year old vines.

Volume of the wines is small – the Carneros Merlot, at 280 cases is the largest production – and there are only 20-30 cases of each available for the UK. The wines are aimed firmly at premium on-trade and fine wine merchants.

Prices are due be officially released later this month, though are likely to be in the range of £190-260 ($260-350)/case of six.

The wines will be shipped all together in the second half of the year, and importer Artis Drinks is recommending that restaurants register their interest early to secure stock.

Imbibe readers should contact Pieter du Toit at Artis Drinks for information; pieter@artisdrinks.com

Click here for Zinfandel results and feedback from this year’s Sommelier Wine Awards.

About Author

Chris Losh

After five years working on My Weekly magazine (during which time he learned how to write horoscopes and make things out of mince) in 1995 Chris Losh entered the world of drinks writing and, despite all advice from his doctor – and the wishes of most South African winemakers – has stayed there ever since. He began on Wine and Spirit International, editing it for several years before moving on to edit Wine Magazine. Both publications have since gone the way of the Dodo, but he claims to have nothing to do with their demise, and his alibi appears solid, since he was freelance writing for anyone who would pay him at the time. In 2007, he helped to set up both Imbibe magazine and the Sommelier Wine Awards, and has spent much of the last three years eating, drinking, and listening to French sommeliers talk about minerality. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Louis Roederer Feature Writer of the Year, but didn’t win. Perhaps he should have stuck to horoscopes. And mince.

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