John Sebastiano


APPELATION: Sta. Rita Hills
SOILS: Linne clay loam for Syrah, Ballard gravelly fine sandy loam for Grenache
ASPECT: South and West facing
VINE AGE: Planted in 2007
FARMING: Sustainable


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 multifaceted hillside on the eastern edge of Sta. Rita Hills, vertically presented to the fierce and cool westerly winds coming off the Pacific Ocean.

This vineyard has produced wines with 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 lively and approachable at an early age, boasting haunting incense-y aromas and powdery fine tannins.