As far as California wine goes, Napa Valley gets a lot of attention, but fewer people know about Sonoma and its rich wine heritage. Located 60 miles north of San Francisco, the two regions may be close in proximity, but not necessarily in spirit.
Situated like a giant horseshoe, the two Valleys are separated only by a small range of foothills and connected at the bottom. This is where Napa’s Route 29 meets Sonoma’s Route 12.
For Sonoma, Highway 12 is the main artery, home to dozens of wineries, but also symbolic as the central lifeline of the region.
Wine has been made here for a long time. Once a part of Mexico, Russian colonists planted the first grapes in 1812. In 1825, Padres of the Sonoma Mission planted the first vineyard in what would later become the Highway 12 Wine Corridor. And in 1857, Sonoma became the location of the first commercial winery (Buena Vista) in the then-new state of California.
Long known as a supplier of wine grapes, Sonoma grows substantially more than its sister to the east, and still supplies them in bulk to many Napa wineries. To this day, it feels more like a rural town, with rustic B&Bs, small restaurants and bars; whereas Napa is a bit more glossy and upscale with its spa retreats and Michelin-Star restaurants. Both places make outstanding wine, but Sonoma seems to have an easygoing spirit that really shows itself in the wines produced here.
Many of the original immigrants to this area were Northern Italian or from other wine-growing regions of Europe. Families like the Sebastianis have been making wine here since 1904. Over three generations of family members grew the Sebastiani brand into one of California’s largest and most well-known. With that heritage in mind, fourth-generation Michael Sebastiani and partner Paul Giusto decided to venture out with a new winery, but not wander too far — really, at all — off the road.
“Through legendary Sonoma Valley and the famed Carneros District, California’s Highway 12 is the quintessential Wine Road. Home to dozens of world renowned vineyards and wineries, this region has been the heart of Northern California’s Wine Country since the first plantings in 1825. Recognizing that our winery, and our neighboring wineries, owe much to this corridor, we proudly assumed the name and the responsibility of honoring its historical significance.”
“If there’s a motivating factor behind the quality of our wines, it’s the name. Assuming the name of California’s premier wine road as our winery name was not without discussion and sincere commitment. There are many wineries and vineyards along this historic route and our commitment to excellence had to be, not only to history, but to our neighbors who share this famed corridor. The wines here listed represent years of winemaking experience and devotion to a lifelong craft. We offer them proudly as the wines of Highway 12.”
To find the perfect grapes, Michael and Paul source their grapes from Sonoma, Napa and the foothills of the Sierras, putting longstanding friendships with neighboring growers to use. “It all Starts in the Vineyard,” is the mantra and the guiding principal at Highway 12. From the vines of those master growers, passing through three generations of wine growing experience in the winery, and into the bottle – you can taste it all, in every sip.
Deschere’s is proud to offer Highway 12 wines in the State of PA. These wines deliver so much for the price! See for yourself:
#49121 Highway 12 Chardonnay 2015 – $16.99
The inaugural release for Highway 12, sourced from the Delta-Clarksburg region. A minimalist approach to winemaking makes for a bright and lively wine with a nose of elderflower, citrus and stone fruit. Crisp Asian pear dominates on the palate. It’s a fruity and floral wine, finishing off with a rich toasty vanilla oak warmth. Perfect with BBQ chicken, buttered shellfish and just perfect on its own on a warm day.
#16806 Highway 12 Sonoma Red Blend 2014 – $18.99
Aptly referred to as SRB, this blend delivers massive quality and structure in a bright and luscious Sonoma style! 63% Merlot, 14% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 4% Malbec, the wine was aged in French oak for 14 months and showcases a full-bodied richness. A bright bouquet on the nose with hints of ‘dust’ give this wine it’s unique character. This wine will stand up to and surpass most Red Blends in it’s price category! Perfect for hearty tomato-based pasta and stews, or maybe just fireside at your favorite ski lodge.
#49122 Highway 12 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 – $17.99
Depth, strength and elegance in one wine! Bright, yet luscious, this Cabernet (with a touch of Cab Franc and Merlot) is full of cedar and oak, cherry, blueberry and a soft, vanilla-oak finish. An easygoing, versatile red that’s great for a variety of settings, from casual apps to grilled BBQ.
Want to know more about Highway 12? Visit their Website at www.highway12winery.com