Devotion at its Best
Planted originally in the 1880s, it was Italian immigrant Felice Pagani who added more vines in the 1920s to what would become Pagani Ranch. Pagani, who had come from Fenegro, Italy near the Swiss border, arrived in America in 1883. In 1885, he soon began taking care of two neighboring vineyards in Sonoma Valley that were planted mainly to Zinfandel around the same time: Monte Rosso® and the Judge Cook Vineyard. Talk about hardscrabble farming. Those were the arduous days of farming by hand, horse and plow, and wielding the heavy hoe that Italians call the “zappa”.
Felice was soon able to purchase 25 acres of Judge Cook’s vineyard and then, 16 years later, another 30-acre vineyard adjoining his property. Felice’s granddaughter, Norma Pagani Amantite, and her son, Dino Amantite, are the devoted caretakers of this iconic and hallowed ground in Sonoma. It is located at Dunbar Road and Highway 12 with the iconic white barn amongst the vines. Most of the original vines still produce beautiful fruit. Much of it is field-blended: Zinfandel, Alicante, Lenoir, Petite Sirah, Carignan, Grand Noir and numerous others–like a big old vine salad of many heritage varieties, if you will.
Winemaker’s Tasting Notes: Rich aromas of bramble fruit, cedar shavings, and baking spice fill the glass. High tones of pomegranate and raspberry mix on the palate with deeper notes of plum compote, black cherry, thyme, and lightly roasted coffee. Long, lush and rich, the wine is braced by ripe tannins and a density matching the vineyard’s renown.