Santa Ynez Valley
John Sebastiano Vineyard was planted in 2007 and produced its first crop in 2010. It’s located on the northeastern edge of the Santa Rita Hills appellation way up in the hills so it catches the ferocious winds that come in from the ocean at Vandenberg Air Force Base. The vines were planted on a steep southern slope and the soil has quite a bit of clay with some shale-y bits that pop through here and there. The vines struggle to develop a full canopy of leaves and the fruit ripens late in October or early November, but each year this wine possesses a knockout aroma of crushed raspberries with a solid structure of tannin and acidity.
This vineyard has produced wines that are imbued with what can only be described as a dramatic personality. Planted on the climatic edge where the vines barely ripen their fruit, the structure of this Grenache is different from what I have seen elsewhere in California, or for that matter from the southern Rhone or Spain. Perhaps they have to be called untraditional for the type, but the wines are simply fresher and more alive than most, so I think they are just better!
The 2013 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard Special Selection is a later pick that I decided to bottle separately. By now some of you probably think I’ve gone off my rocker by moving my winemaking towards a subtler style. After all, for years much of the press insisted that the only good wine was a big wine, and it was even better if lavished by lots of new oak. But I’m not enamored by being pigeonholed as a maker of lean, pleasure-less wines. What I was intrigued by here was how this Grenache was full throttle and at the same time so well balanced. Not subtle, but every way delicious.
Blend: 100% Grenache | Alc: 14.5% | Vinification: Neutral French Oak | Barrel Aging: 16 months | Total Production: 92 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2013 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard Special Selection is a later pick that Adam Tolmach decided to bottle separately. Here the flavors are darker and more boldly sketched, with fruit that veers towards the blue/purplish end of the spectrum. Violet, lavender, cloves and menthol are some of the many notes that add to the wine’s irrepressible personality. This is a fabulous showing from Ojai.. ” – AG 94 Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Coming from the last four parcels harvested that had an extra level of ripeness and density, the 2013 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard Special Bottling has fabulous intensity in its violet-tinged black and blue fruits, spring flowers, licorice and cracked pepper-driven bouquet. Medium to full-bodied, ripe and rounded, with a mouthfilling, vibrant and lively texture, it has solid mid-palate concentration, building tannin and a clean finish. Easily the best Grenache I’ve tasted from this estate, give it a year or two in the cellar and enjoy bottles through 2025.” – JD 93 Points