Sebastiani Alexander Valley Merlot

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Sebastiani Alexander Valley Merlot is a Californian red wine made from grapes sourced from vineyards in the Alexander Valley AVA (American Viticultural Area). Alexander Valley is diverse region of rocky benchlands, hillsides and well-draining soils. Located to the north of Healdsburg, it is one of the largest and most fully planted wine growing regions in Sonoma County. The Sebastiani winery is one of the longest established wineries in California, founded in 1904 by the Sebastiani family and surviving both prohibition and the depression. Winemaker Mark Lyon has been at Sebastiani since 1979 and knows everything there is to know about wine-making and the many vineyards and terroirs that make up the family’s holdings. A new winery was completed in 2006 which allows even gentler handling of the grapes and more precise control over the vinification.

Sebastiani Alexander Valley Merlot is a blend of red wine grapes and is usually around 80% Merlot with some 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot. The Lyon vineyard, named after and owned by winemaker Mark Lyon, provides most of the grapes for this wine. The vineyard has a mixed soil composed of alluvial gravel, sandstone and iron-rich volcanic rock. Cool evenings and warm afternoons help to heighten the black cherry notes and coffee notes on the finish. After harvest the grapes underwent a three-day cold maceration followed by a brisk, warm fermentation over fifteen days. The wine was pressed off part-way through, and fermentation finished in barrel,  a mixture of French (40% new 40% one year old) and Hungarian oak (1 year old). The blend was made in early spring, and the wine returned to barrel until the January 2011 bottling. Sebastiani works with the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance to ensure all aspects of their business are sustainable and gentle on the environment. The 2011 Sebastiani Alexander Valley Merlot is a blend of 79% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% Petit Verdot.

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