Sebastiani Vineyards Appellation Selection Pinot Noir 2004
A classic Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, with the appellation's signature cherry-cola aromas and bright ruby color. The tannins are fine grained and velvety, balanced by a sour cherry acidity and fresh fruit notes of plum, raspberry, Marion berry and cherries. Sweet oak spices of cinnamon and vanilla round out the finish, which lingers on the palate. A hint of leather and cedar begins to emerge as the wine breathes, promising excellent aging potential, with secondary aromas and flavors of tobacco leaf, dried fruits and spice to come forward in the next three to five years of aging.
Sebastiani's first century in Sonoma winemaking began when Samuele Sebastiani emigrated from the Tuscany region of Italy in 1895 and started Sebastiani nine years later. A stonemason by trade, he quarry-mined the Sonoma hills for cobblestones that were used to build the streets of San Francisco. He worked long hours and saved carefully to buy land in Sonoma County, from which he would make wine for the Sonoma community and San Francisco's restaurants. The winery was the only one in Sonoma County to continue operations through Prohibition, making a small amount of sacramental and medicinal wines. It has been joked, and perhaps with some grain of truth, that during this time there was a resurgence of people becoming very religious. Shortly after Samuele's death in 1944, his son, August, and August's wife Sylvia purchased the winery from the estate and began the expansion of the facilities and the product line, adding new varietal wines and proprietary blends. When August died in 1980, Sylvia and their children, Sam, Don, and Mary Ann, assumed management of the company. Sam stayed until 1986, when he left Sebastiani to start his own winery, south of the city of Sonoma. The "Modern Era" at Sebastiani began in 1999 when they cut production from nearly 8 million to 125,000 cases. The impact was staggering. They went from being one of California's largest producers, sourcing grapes from all over the state, down to a midsize winery focused exclusively on Sonoma County with a special emphasis on small-lot, high-quality Cabernets from the Sonoma and Alexander Valleys. Since Bill Foley purchased Sebastiani in 2008 they've continued to raise the quality and profile of their wines. In addition to maintaining their relationships with some of the finest growers in Sonoma County, they've fine-tuned and upgraded all of their vineyards including the famous Cherryblock. After gentle pressing, the grapes were fermented in small stainless steel tanks for each individual lot. The must was inoculated with a special yeast strain used for cool fermentations and cherry aromas. During the fermentation, the wine underwent daily punchdowns for gentle color, tannin, flavor and aroma compound extraction. After a short fermentation, the wine was racked into 100% French oak barrels from Tonnellerie Remond for 10 months of barrel aging.