STA. RITA HILLS
John Sebastiano is a wild vineyard for Rhone varietals. We’ve leased Syrah and Grenache acreage there since 2010, and the Syrah has become a luminous example of cool-climate Syrah in California. The vineyard is planted on a promontory of a hill on the eastern edge of Sta. Rita Hills, vertically presented to the fierce and cool westerly winds coming off the Pacific Ocean. Our acreage is on steep South facing slopes. The vines grow in the renowned Linne soils (which are limestone-rich soils that are coveted for the lift they endow to Rhone varietals in California).
This vineyard has produced wines that are imbued with what can only be described as dramatic personalities. The vines struggle to develop a full canopy of leaves and the fruit ripens late in October or early November, but each year the wines possess a knockout exotic aroma with a solid structure of tannin and acidity. Planted on the climatic edge where the vines barely ripen their fruit, the structure of the Grenache is different from what I have seen elsewhere in California, or for that matter from the southern Rhone or Spain. It is simply fresher and more alive. Each year the Syrah is likewise fresh and lively, and flaunts exotic aromas and soft powdery-fine tannins.