On a recent jaunt to Sonoma, I had the pleasure of tasting what the Sebastiani website calls its best ever Barbera - the 2009 Sonoma Valley Barbera. I wholeheartedly agree. Big and bold, this wine can stand up to the best the region has to offer.
The first thing that is noticably different about this wine is the unusually deep, dark color. It is has exceptional clarity, but is an inky deep claret. The nose practically jumps out of the glass with rich, fruity scents.
Aged in a combination of new Hungarian and American oak barrels, the Barbera is rich and complex without being overly tannic. Deep earthy coffee flavors abound, with a hint of ripe blackberries, licorice, and apricot in the mix. It is excellent and drinkable now, but cellaring would only improve it. Given its overall complexity and richness, it should cellar well for up to ten years.
This is undoubtedly the best wine I have tasted so far this year, I would give it a rating of 92.
Food pairings: This is a wonderful wine for a Beef Wellington, Chauteaubriand, or equally elegant Salmon en Papillote (translation - Fish in Paper). It is bold and rich, inky and deep. It would be a perfect wedding reception wine, anniversary wine, or accompaniment to a festive French dinner in a nice restaurant that allows corkage.
Other pairings: Rich and inky, this is the wine to sip while listening to John Worley's "Jazz Is" from the Worlview album. It would also be a great wine to sip while watching the Godfather, or listening to anything by Mahler. A Robert Ludlum novel would match it in intensity, and Nag Champa incense would create a very nice ambiance.
Where to Buy: You can find this wine at the Sebastiani website at http://www.sebastiani.com/ or at the winery itself if you plan a visit.