We all have our comfort foods, but what about comfort wines? Sometimes you’re just in the mood for a wine that you can trust. Sebastiani Merlot Alexander Valley is one of my comfort wines and always a standby on restaurant wine lists if the other Merlots are too pricey or simply unexciting.
The 2007 is just hitting the shelves, and I opened a bottle over the weekend as I grilled hamburgers. It was supple and sleek, but underneath was an appealingly elegant structure with black cherry and spicy anise flavors. What more could you want from a California Merlot that costs $24 and is often discounted by a few bucks at retail?
The main grape sources are two vineyards in Sonoma County’s northern Alexander Valley, one from a block owned by Sebastiani winemaker Mark Lyon and planted in 1973. Lyon blended in 13 percent Petit Verdot and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Barbera to fill out the wine, and the results are impressive. That night I gave it a score of 91 points, non-blind.
WineSpectator.com members: Get scores and tasting notes for previous vintages of Sebastiani Merlot Alexander Valley.
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Merlots.