Pesenti Vineyard, Paso Robles

Aerial view of the Pesenti Vineyard, uniquie for its aspect-oriented blocks.

Aerial view of the Pesenti Vineyard, uniquie for its aspect-oriented blocks.

 

Overview:

This certified organic estate-owned vineyard was planted in the 1920’s on primarily limestone soil. Though the vines are head-trained and dry-farmed, the soil plays the most important role in distinguishing this vineyard on the west side of Paso Robles. The wines have a brightness, with chalk and floral aromas unique to the site, and to Zinfandel in general.

 

2015 Zinfandel Tasting Notes:

Paso Robles has continued to be the hardest-hit region by the drought; in 2015, the Pesenti vineyard yielded only 1 ton to the acre, sometimes even less!  Regardless, the wine is so unmistakably Pesenti: vibrant, bright red fruits like raspberry on the nose, with just a dash of white pepper and distilled minerals. The palate has more density and concentration than years previous, all of which is mitigated by a vigorous acidity, culminating in a wine that is pure pleasure.

A little history...

Once upon a time, Paso Robles was under water. Whales swam where we now grow grapes! Fast-forward just a 'few' years, and the land itself is now composed of ancient uplifted seabed (calcaerous mudstone), which creates an idyllic soil profile in a Mediterranean-style climate.

Frank Pesenti immigrated to the United States in the late 1880s and eventually found his way to Templeton, CA. He purchased this ranch in 1919 which was heavily forested with oak trees. During a time where the charcoal industry was thriving, he was able to sell the cleared lumber and use the profits to help plant (you guessed it) a Zinfandel vineyard. Frank began prepping the soil using a team of horses and began planting in 1922. In the same year, he sent for his wife, Catarina, to join him on their homestead. Prior to immigrating to the States, Frank became a Jack-of-all-trades gaining useful experience as a bricklayer in France. Utilizing that knowledge, Frank Pesenti created and laid the bricks to become what is now the Pesenti Winery. The winery was officially bonded in 1934. 

The Pesenti Winery stayed in the family until Larry Turley purchased the property in 2000. Cheers to Frank Pesenti for laying the foundation of such an incredible vineyard and winery. 

Mowing cover crop after a rainy season.

Mowing cover crop after a rainy season.

QUICK FACTS:

  • Year Planted: 1922-1924
  • Varietals: 40 acres planted to mostly Zinfandel.
  • Organic: Yes, CCOF Certification
  • Farming Method: Head trained, dry farmed. 10 ft x 10 ft spacing.
  • Primary Soil Profile: Calcium based (limestone)
  • Elevation: 1,100 ft high, 900 ft low STEEP SLOPES
  • First Turley Vintage: 2001
Pesenti Winery's Cellar Master, Adrian, filling barrels with wine!

Pesenti Winery's Cellar Master, Adrian, filling barrels with wine!

Distinctive Character, Wines, and More:

Being that the vineyard lies a mere 8 miles from the coast, the Willow Creek District of the Paso Robles AVA experiences warm days and cold nights. In fact, Paso Robles has some of the most extreme temperature swings of any grape-growing region. The result: simply exciting wines. 

From the Pesenti Vineyard, we produce four wines: Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, Tecolote (Grenache/Carignane), and Grenache Blanc (White Coat). With the calcaerous limestone and the occasional carignane vine interplanted with Zinfandel, the Pesenti Zin takes on a unique brightness to it leading to a sweet-tart-esque character. Like I said, exciting wines. The Petite Syrah coming from this vineyard were planted from cutting hailing from the Hayne Vineyard in St. Helena. The wine produced maintains the structural integrity of a well-built Petite Syrah all the while bringing in approachable vibrancy to the glass, even in its youth.