The history of Sebastiani Vineyards dates back to 1825. In that year, the Franciscan fathers of nearby mission San Francisco Solano, assisted by local native Americans, first cleared and planted land for their vineyards. These vineyards are among the oldest vineyard sites in northern California. They were acquired in 1904 by Samuele Sebastiani, the founder of the family winery, who emigrated from the wine producing region of Tuscany, Italy in 1895. The fourth generation member of the family actively involved in the company is Marc Cuneo. Although not yet 30 years of age he has transformed the winery from a bulk-wine producer to a more specialized winery, with the focus on premium wines from single vineyards and specific appelations within Sonoma County. Marc is Director of Grower Relations at the winery and oversees his own vineyard of Pinot Noir in the Carneros Region.
Barbera hails from the Piedmont region where it bows to the great Nebbiolo grape which produces the famous Barolo and Barbaresco wines. It covers half the region’s vineyards and ranks second to Sangiovese in total surface planted among all of Italy’s red wine varieties. At its peak it has attributes of great color, body, bouquet, flavor and is defined by its dictinctive core of acidity. As with virtually all Italian wine it is designed to be a “food wine”.
August Sebastiani produced the first Barbera from Sonoma County in 1962; it was one of his favorite wines. Thanks to his pioneering efforts, they have amassed over 40 years of winemaking experience with Barbera in California and discovered that the best site for growing this grape is in the warmer, mid-Sonoma Valley region. Therefore, these Barbera grapes were sourced from the Madrone Ranch in the Sonoma Valley, a site with this ideal terroir. Through trial and error it was discovered that Barbera blends very well with both Petite Sirah and Old Vines Zinfandel, yielding a richer wine with good structure. Winemaker’s tasting notes, “The color of this wine hints at its richness. Unlike the stark magenta color of most Piedmont Barberas, this wine is very dark purple. Aromas of anise and raspberries topped off with vanilla and smoke fill the nose and are echoed in the mouth with lingering plumb fruit compote. We haven’t tasted anything like this since the legendary 1976 vintage! It is lush yet maintains a nice level of acidity, which makes this wine perfect for food pairing. Due to its low-tannin nature, it can be paired with most fish entrees, but its ideal match is Osso Buco. Enjoy also with any tomato-based stews and pizza.”