Here is another Cabernet Sauvignon to add to the California Cab series. This one comes from Sonoma, more specifically from the American Viticulture Areas (AVA) of Sonoma Valley, Alexander Valley, and Chalk Hill. Since it is sourced from multiple AVAs the bottle says Sonoma County, the general AVA for the whole region.
Sebastiani has a long history of winemaking in California. Samuele Sebastiani emigrated from Tuscany, Italy to California in 1895 and established Sebastiani Vineyards nine years later. His winery was one of the few to survive Prohibition by making small amounts of sacramental and medicinal wine. Since then it has been passed down through the generations and recently was sold to an investor. This doesn’t mean the wine has gone downhill but, in this case, quite the opposite.
The new owner, Bill Foley, has put money into the winery with new wine making equipment and barrels. He has also lowered production, restricted yields, and introduced careful techniques from winemaker Mark Lyon to increase the wineries quality. Today they have a full portfolio of single-vineyard and sub-appelation (smaller) wines. And this brings us to today’s wine, a sub-appellation Cabernet Sauvignon.
Look: In the glass this wine is a very dense red violet colour right to the rim and has thick slow moving legs.
Smell: The aromas are very concentrated and fruity with blackberry and currants with some herbaceous green bell pepper. Mixed in is a balanced peppery spice, earthy aromas like potting soil, and vanilla.
Taste: This wine is full bodied with very grippy tannins and moderate acidity. At first it tastes very heavily oaked with burnt toast and spices but this mellows out with some time and the darker fruit flavours become more noticeable.There is a certain earthiness to it that makes it quite dry. It has a long lasting finish heavy with cloves and vanilla.
Conclusion: To be honest this wine tasted better the second evening I had it. I rated it a lower the first night (7.5+/10) because it seemed rather unbalanced towards oak flavours, bitter in a way. This unpleasant flavour was much more subdued the second night so I bumped up my rating to 8.0+/10. Clearly this wine has seen a bit more care than some of the other California Cabernets I’ve tasted but still lacks a certain complexity to make it more interesting. That aside, it is quite drinkable (especially if you decant first) and I could enjoy this one more often if the price was a bit lower.
- Cabernet Sauvignon (76.5%) Merlot (7.6%) Malbec (6.6%) Other Reds (9.3%)
- Sonoma County, California, USA
- 2013 – 13.5% ABV
- Sebastiani Vineyards
- $22.75 At Chateau Wines & Spirits (Lacombe)
- Real cork