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 vineyard is mostly inside the appellation and mostly planted to pinot noir, however there is some syrah and grenache planted just outside and that’s where we get our fruit.
Vineyard manager Ruben Solorzano pays attention to every detail, which is good because grenache is finicky. Assuming flowering goes well, grenache produces clusters that are so big that they need to be individually hand trimmed in order for the fruit to mature evenly. Also, the clusters become bleached if they receive too much sunlight, so Ruben trains the vines in a way to encourage just the right amount of shading. This extra effort really shows in the finished wine, as each year the color is dark and the flavors are impressive.
This vineyard has produced wines that possess dramatic personalities. Planted on the climatic edge where the vines barely ripen their fruit, the structure of this grenache is different from what I’ve seen elsewhere in California, or for that matter from the southern Rhone or Spain. The wine is simply fresher and more alive. In 2014 the vineyard delivered stellar quality again, giving us a wine that is supple and approachable and downright delicious.
Blend: 100% Grenache | Alc: 13.5% | Vinification: traditional open top fermentation, 10% whole clusters | Barrel Aging: 15 Months | Total Production: 401 cases
Antonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2014 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard is deep, dense and powerful, all within the Ojai style, of course. Still quite primary, the 2014 is all about fruit at this stage. Still, the wine’s energy and persistence are both commendable. The wine’s tannic grip and bright acidity both suggest it could use a bit more time to fully come together. This is another promising wine, but its best days are off in the future. I won’t be surprised if the 2014 is even more impressive than this note suggests in another few years’ time. There is plenty to look forward to. In this vintage, the strong, almost arrogant personality of site dominates over varietal character. A closing burst of bright red fruit and firm tannins rounds things out.”- AG 93+ Points
Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“Possibly one of my favorite vintages of this cuvee from Adam, the 2014 Grenache John Sebastiano Vineyard (100% Grenache aged 15 months in neutral oak) offers upfront, layered, ripe notes of framboise, Bing cherry and flowers in a medium-bodied, rounded and generous style that has more texture and richness than previous vintages.”- JD 90 Points