2015 Ancient Oak "Pagnano Vineyard" Zinfandel, Russian River Valley
I've been a fan of Ancient Oak since I worked to introduce them to Ohio back in early 2017 when I worked as a distributor. The owners Ken and Melissa are marvelously kind, and as a local aside, their son and daughter-in-law dance for the Columbus Ballet Met. The farming is top rate. The winemaker, Greg LaFollette, is an absolute legend. He literally wrote the book on native yeast fermentations, and founded a number of incredible wineries such as Flowers, trained winemakers such as Merry Edwards, and - prior to being a winemaker - was an HIV researcher. The wines he makes are visceral and above all textural.
The 2015 Pagnano Zinfandel is a delicious take on the classic American grape, brighter and fresher than zins from further inland in Dry Creek Valley, with a juicy finish that begs for another sip.
Sadly, Ken and Melissa's home vineyard, the Siebert Ranch, was destroyed in the 2017 fires that swept Sonoma and Napa, along with Ken and Melissa's house. The vineyard has been replanted, though the house remains destroyed. Their generosity, however, seem to know no limits. While they themselves are rebuilding their lives after the fires, they have donated generously to the cause of unemployed Sommeliers in midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Not only because the wines are absolutely amazing, we recommend to drink Ancient Oak wines often and help support some wonderful people as they rebuild.