Veteran Sebastiani winemaker Mark Lyon has long been a master of the art crafting distinctive, varietally correct Pinot Noirs that taste a lot more expensive than they have any right to, given their modest price. This just released 2012 comes from the relatively vast Sonoma Coast appellation, which offers a cool climate well-suited to Pinot Noir. Lyon blends multiple clones of Pinot Noir from estate and grower vineyards in Carneros, Russian River Valley and Sonoma Valley (all part of the Sonoma Coast AVA). Grapes are gently de-stemmed to preserve the flavors of whole berries. During fermentation, the wine is pumped over the skins two to three times a day, a Burgundian technique that enhances the color and deepens the fruit flavors. The wine is then transferred into new and used French and Hungarian oak barrels to add a finishing sheen of vanilla oak to the bright, supple fruit flavors and aromas of crushed red cherries, spice, and new earth. Ready to drink now.
Opens with inviting aromas of spice, cherry and ripe plum, highlighted subtle smoky oak notes. On the palate, more approachable and brighter than the excellent 2011, with ripe, pleasantly jammy red-fruit layers supported by subtle French oak-inspired vanilla notes. Excellent length, inviting another sip. Definitely ready now, but also with 3 to 5 years of graceful development head.- Ben Giliberti