Another coast-to-coast TasteLive event where wine-tweeters across the country attended simultaneous wine tasting of the newest releases of “The Crusher” wines. This very lively event featured five wines from the Don Sebastiani & Sons.
In the event that you’ve just entered this stratosphere, I’ll give you a bit of background on the winemakers. Don Sebastini is the grandson of Samuele Sebastiani who, after emigrating from Italy in 1895 to New York, made his way to California and by 1904 had purchased his first vineyard. The following 100 years forms the story of the true American Dream, with the Sebastini’s being one of the founding families of Sonoma, California. Thankfully, the love of winemaking runs thru the family tree. Sam’s grandson Don, and his two sons Donny and August, today, have their own place in the family history books. Their Company Don & Sons produces wines under several labels. Each one with its own ‘sense of place’. Today we explore new releases from ‘The Crusher’, from Clarksburg, California.
The concept of ‘The Crusher’ wines is grounded in the philosophy that the journey from the vineyard to the crusher to your table will capture the freshness of the region to bring you exceptional wines to your home.
2009 Chardonnay From Wilson Vineyards 100% Chardonnay and aged 80% in new oak.
In the glass this wine is a light crystal yellow with a tint of green apple. On first opening, this wine had tons of fruit on the nose and later an essence of clove is released. Tasting this wine, I find butterscotch and clove with a creamy smooth finish. The fruit on the nose surprisingly does not turn this chardonnay into a fruity-sweet wine, quite the opposite. I found this wine to have a strong backbone that will pair nicely with a flavorful seafood meal. And for sipping on its own; I think this wine, with its clove and butterscotch, is a great winter white wine.
2010 Rosé of Pinot Noir From Merwin Vineyards 97.5% Pinot Noir and 2.5% Viognier
In the glass this wine is a beautiful translucent pink grapefruit color. The aromas of light morning toast and strawberry is convincing me I should consider serving this at my next brunch! The flavors of grapefruit, watermelon and honeydew are fresh and creamy, but not overly sweet. This wine has just the right amount of sweetness while maintaining a crisp finish.
2009 Pinot Noir From Wilson Vineyards 100% Pinot Noir, aged 16 months in French oak.
This wine poured shiny and brilliant. The aromas journeyed from musty, on first open, and after being decanted for an hour, the smoke, grilled steak, bacon and sassafras were released. I sniffed this wine for quiet some time before taking a sip. Winemaker, Greg Kitchens chimed in via twitter feed, that the aromas are “Dr. Pepper and sassafras,” I finally pulled my nose out of the glass and went for a sip. The clove, dust, a bit of dirt and cherries are blending nicely and the dry acidic finish is calling me back for another sip. This is a sturdy Pinot Noir; pair it with a beef bourguignon, smoked beef brisket or a vegetarian dish of wild mushroom risotto. As a sipping wine, try pairing this with a cheese platter of Meadowkoos Spring Cheese from Holland.
2009 Petite Sirah Grapes sourced from vineyards in the southeast corner of Clarksburg 97% Petite Sirah 3% Alicante Bouchet, aged 9 months in two different types of French oak.
The color of this wine is the perfect ‘petite sirah purple’ dark and purple! Again, upon opening up I sensed a musty odor and sent this bottle to the decanter. The mustiness disappears; opening to a nose of oak and mulled spices. Someone commented “is it Thanksgiving or Christmas I smell in this glass?” The slight pepper and dark berries balance out the mulled spices for a full bodied mouthfeel experience. The finish is dry and tannic. My group chose this wine as the accompaniment to our meal of artesian flatbread pizza’s topped with a medley of artichoke, red onion, parmesan, Romano cheeses.
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Wilson Vineyards, aged 11 months in 80% French and 20% American oak.
Very dark colors in the glass, with hints of sage and pepper aromas. The prominence of the oak presents itself in the clove and caramel essence. Cherry is the dominant flavor in the mouth. The very tannic finish reminds me of a young Bordeaux while waiting for its maturity. I would suggest getting a few bottles of this wine, taste one now, jot down your tasting notes, attach those notes to the other bottles, and then repeat the process in two years. I imagine we’ll be tasting something very complex come 2013.
My personal favorite from this line up is the Rosé of Pinot Noir. In my tasting group, there was a fight over the bottle of Chardonnay, while one taster quietly took the Pinot Noir and found a quiet corner to enjoy it. There you have it, something for everyone!
Many thanks to Michael Wangbickler and his team at Balzac Communications for hosting this latest ‘TasteLive’ event. To winemaker Greg Kitchens, thank you for sharing your insight on these wines with us. And to Don, Donny and August Sebastiani for seeking out and cultivating new appellations for us to enjoy.
All wines are priced retail at $18*
*These wines were provided as a trade sample.