The SOMM Journal

December 2014/January 2015

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Page 27 of 119

28 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } DECEMBER/JANUARY 2014/2015 { behind the label } C M Y CM MY CY CMY K WITH THE SUCCESS OF A TRULY TOP-NOTCH CRAFT SPIRITS port- folio for his 35 Maple Street Spirits division, August Sebastiani is pursuing a premium wine adventure through its parent company, The Other Guys (TOG). The new wine project is called Gehricke, named after a dusty road that winds through Sonoma's top vineyards and up through Sonoma Mountain. The Sebastiani name is synonymous with Sonoma, and the history of the town is part of August's heritage. "The story of how Gehricke came to be stems from our soul as a négo- ciant," Sebastiani offers. "We've been buying and blending spirits with great contracts and opportunities." Instead of working with a distiller in Oregon for Uncle Val's Gin or Caribbean sugarcane growers for Kirk & Sweeney Rum, Sebastiani is getting his fingers purple again by delving back in his family's traditional, original pursuits: wine. While his company does produce fine value wines such as Leese-Fitch, Plungerhead and Hey Mambo, Gehricke is the first prestige label for TOG. "The bountiful 2012 harvest resulted in a few unexpected phone calls from growers," notes Sebastiani, who confessed that this project just landed on his lap. "They told me that they had at least 50 percent more grapes than their 'well known' winery needed—and that's how we came upon nine tons of incredibly good Carneros Pinot Noir for our 2012 vintage." In fact, the wine was stellar. And this writer reviewed it in our sister magazine, THE TASTING PANEL with a whopping 95 points. I wrote, "This 100% Pinot 1,000-case stunner opens right up with a plum-brandied nose, dotted with spiced cinnamon. A textural bounty of fruit envelops the pal- ate with brambly berries and cocoa. Mocha espresso surges midway and glides to the finish line, poised and polished." (SRP $40) There were more upsides to the project: Sebastiani was thrilled to be able to work with his brother-in-law, Kendrick Coakley. "He's the only member of our family classically trained to make wine." Coakley, who had been making wine for some big names in Napa and Sonoma, became TOG's consulting winemaker and helped launch Gehricke. The team is focused on selecting fruit from the finest vineyards throughout Sonoma County, which leads to wines that are a true repre- sentation of each appellation and how its terroir impacts specific varietals. Gehricke is set to release a few wines within the next year, including a Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and Sonoma (Moon Mountain) Zinfandel. Now that he's got the bug, Sebastiani just had to let on about his lim- ited-production addition to the portfolio. "It will be for special occasions and highly allocated under the TOG umbrella," he intimates. It's a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon made from five rows—that's about 120 vines—from the iconic vineyard his family once owned in the heart of Sonoma. And that being said, the Sebastiani name is the heart of Sonoma. The Road Less Taken August Sebastiani has just launched premium wine label Gehricke. GEHRICKE LEADS AUGUST SEBASTIANI DOWN A NEW PATH by Meridith May Gehricke is the new prestige wine from August Sebastiani. Note the winemaker's "chicken scratch" notes, which lend an authentic, homemade look. PHOTO COURTESY OF THE OTHER GUYS WINES

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