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by Fred McMillin
Winery of the Week
A New Winery for a New Millennium
Not so long ago, Sebastiani Vineyards introduced a new line of low-cost, well-crafted wines named Vendage (French for "vintage"). Before long its sales exceeded four million cases making it the fourth-largest-selling brand in the U.S.A.
The Rest of the Story
The Vendage wines are made in the Central Valley of California. Now, Sebastiani has introduced a new label, using grapes from the cool coastal regions of the state.
What name would symbolize the cool, foggy maritime influence on the source vineyards? How about the cold, rocky islands 30 miles off the entrance to the San Francisco Bay? The first European to see them, Sir Francis Drake, called them The Islands of St. James. However, the first Europeans to OWN them were the Spanish. Hence, they were called the Farallones, meaning "small rocky islands in the sea." It is pronounced "FAIR-ah-lon."
Savvy Sebastiani winemaker Melissa Bates currently has five, $10 Farallon wines on the market, two Chardonnays and three reds, Merlot, Cab and Pinot Noir.
The 1997 Pinot provides a good example of the fine grape sources. For just ten bucks you're getting fruit from Carneros, Russian River Valley and Alexander Valley. Vendage move over. Here comes Farallon.
Contact—Jason Breaw, (707) 933-3287, FAX (707) 933-3370
My Panel's Opinion—If you drink $10 varietals, you will be very glad you tried a Farallon. Good values.
Those successful Sebastianis: (production by three generations)
This page created January 2000