Don Sebastiani Delicious

Don Sebastiani & Sons Pinot Noir has always graced our wine collection, so we were delighted to find out about how this California winery has expanded its portfolio to 14 brands with Big Smooth wines — a beautiful Cabernet Sauvignon and a lush Old Vine Zinfandel packaged in a bottle with a velvet label.

“Big Smooth is inspired by the understanding that wine itself is an experience,” said Donny Sebastiani, CEO of Don Sebastiani & Sons. “Our vision for Big Smooth is to deliver big, mouth-filling wines that are not only smooth and sensual to drink, but extend that feeling all the way from first glance on the shelf to the last sip from your glass.”

The Sonoma-based winery also reinvigorated The Crusher wine series, with a new label design and new California label designation. The Crusher line-up: Merlot, Red Blend, Pinot Noir, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and the debut of Unoaked Chardonnay.

We recently enjoyed these samples, kindly provided by the winery.

2015 Don & Sons Pinot Noir ($28)
In early March, we opened a bottle of the 2010 vintage of this Pinot Noir at a party, and it was a big hit. So we are pleased to see how deliciously smooth the 2015 Pinot is as well. Featuring aromas and flavors of dark fruit such as cherries and blackberries, along with notes of spices and smoke, this is a versatilewine that can be paired with turkey, chicken or your favorite comfort foods.

2015 Big Smooth Cabernet Sauvignon ($27)
The inaugural release blends 83% Cabernet Sauvignon with 6% Merlot, 4% each of Petit Verdot and Petite Sirah, and 3% Malbec. The result is aromas of cherries, blackberries, plums and a hint of vanilla, opening into flavors of fruit and caramel, with a hint of spearmint and spices. Pair it with a charcuterie plate of cured meats and hard cheeses, or with steak or grilled meats.

2015 Big Smooth Zinfandel ($27)
Big and powerful, yet silky and spicy, this Zinfandel opens up with aromas and flavors of dark fruits such as cherries and blackberries, with bits of coconut, vanilla, and molasses. The Zin (85%) is rounded out with 13% Petite Sirah and 6% Merlot. Pair it with spicy ribs, a BBQ cheeseburger or a juicy steak.

2015 The Crusher Unbaked Chardonnay ($18)
We prefer Chardonnay fermented and aged in stainless steel instead of oak, so this one is right for us. Made from 100% California Chardonnay, the nose features melon and stone fruit, followed by flavors of apple, apricot, vanilla bean and caramel. Delicious! Pair it with pork, poultry and rich fish such as salmon or tuna.

2014 The Crusher Merlot ($18)
Aged for ten months on French and American oak, 95% Merlot is rounded off with 3% Zinfandel and 2% Pinot Noir. This is one fruit-forward Merlot, with aromas of raspberries and cherries, followed by intense flavors of red plum, caramel and cranberry. Pair it with beef tacos, chicken or baked brie on warm sourdough bread.

2014 The Crusher Petite Sirah ($18)
No wonder why we like this wine — it combines 81% Petite Sirah, 7% Merlot, 5% Barbera, 5% Tempranillo and 2% Malbec. Big, bold and beautiful, The Crusher Petite Sirah features aromas of blackberries, cherries and vanilla, with dense, robust flavors of dark fruit, dark chocolate and dark coffee. Pair it with smoked, barbecued, or grilled beef or simply with strong cheeses.

2014 The Crusher Pinot Noir ($18)
This balanced, food-friendly Pinot Noir opens with a nose of cranberry, cherry and spices, followed by flavors of plum, black currant, strawberry and some earthiness. This wine will be enhanced with a good food pairing such as grilled salmon or roasted turkey.

2014 The Crusher Cabernet Sauvignon ($18)
The Crusher Cabernet Sauvignon is not as big as the 2015 Big Smooth Cab; rather this is medium-bodied, cool-climate Cab, consisting of 89% Cab Sauv, 9% Merlot and 2% Petite Sirah. This is a fruity yet savory wine, with initial flavors of soy sauce and herbs, followed by dark cherry and toffee, with smoke and coffee notes.

Now you have lots of options, between $18-$28, for your summer barbecues or parties on the deck!