Sebastiani Sonoma Cask Merlot 1996
Since it’s founded in 1904 by Samuele Sebastiani, Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery has been a Sonoma winemaking tradition. The winery is located in the heart of downtown Sonoma and offers a historic winery with a hospitality center, barrel room with stunning antique redwood tanks, a grand event space and daily tours and tastings.
Planted in 1961, the “Original Vineyard Block” now known as Cherryblock, was planted primarily to Cabernet Sauvignon, which led the winery to create one of Sonoma County’s first varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. Sebastiani has continued its tradition in crafting a variety of Cabernet’s including the iconic Cherryblock, Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon. Utilizing grapes from a variety of premier growing sites created wines with richness and complexity.
Proprietor, Bill Foley, purchased Sebastiani in 2008 and honors the traditions of Sebastiani while embracing the future. Sebastiani Vineyards and Winery continues to create consistent, highly acclaimed wines crafted by Winemaker, David Nakaji.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Sonoma County wines are produced with carefully selected grape varieties to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.