Dark garnet and reddish in color, this 2010 is very much so reflective of a California Merlot. Aromatically speaking this wine combines black cherries, black tea, coconut, toffee, and light oak. The palate is rich, soft, and approachable with layers of dark cherry, ripe fruit, and lingering tea-like flavors. Balanced, elegant, and fruit forward yet not overly ripe, this is exactly what Sebastiani looks for in Sonoma County Merlot. Enjoy this wine alongside a wide array of dishes, including pasta primavera, salami, grilled steak, or herb-crusted lamb chops.
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.