Over the last two-plus decades, the Russian River Valley has earned a reputation as one of California's premier AVAs for Chardonnay.
The region's cool coastal climate and low-nutrient soils accentuate the rich, nuanced flavors of the grape without sacrificing structure.
Our long-standing contract with the famed Dutton Ranch provides us with some of the best Chardonnay grapes in the Russian River
Valley. It was custom planted with lower-yielding Chardonnay clones to express the best quality possible.
This is the essence of Russian River Chardonnay. The aromas are highlighted by apricots, nectarine and guava. The palate is of medium
weight with concentrated peach and nectarine flavors. The finish is crisp and cleansing. This is the richest, fullest, most dramatic
Unoaked Chardonnay we have made to date!
With over a century of winemaking experience in Sonoma, Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery focuses on crafting small lots of super-premium wines from the great growing regions of Sonoma County, becoming one of California’s most highly praised and awarded wineries for its Bordeaux and Burgundian varietals.
With the spotlight on single vineyards and specific sub-appellations such as Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, Carneros and Russian River Valley, Sebastiani produces wine under the Sonoma County, Appellation Selection and Proprietary Selection designations. Founded in 1904 by Samuele Sebastiani, the winery is best known for its Cherryblock Cabernet Sauvignon, one of Sonoma County's most coveted wines. The winery is located just blocks from Sonoma's historic downtown plaza and offers historical tours as well as extensive picnic grounds and hospitality venues.
View all Sebastiani Wines
The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.