B Side wines are the product of Don Sebastiani & Sons, that claims it's heritage as part of the Sonoma Winemaking Family that dates back to 1904. Fourth generation producer Donny Sebastiani is the great–grandson of Samuele, the Sebastiani patriarch. In 2001, Don Sebastiani and his two sons, Donny and August, established Don Sebastiani & Sons, with a goal of building a new wine company in the negociant style of the early Sebastiani winemakers.
They source grapes from vineyards all over California’s appellations and beyond, claiming this enables them to be free to explore the best quality fruit that each vintage has to offer. As I've written here time and again over the last year, the negociant supply model provides the opportunity for imaginative, high QPR wines. But on the flipside, (no pun intended here), since they don't own or control the source of the fruit, they can be prone to 'one-hit wonders' (pun intended) with a blockbuster release one year, but when its gone it may be done, with no chance for a repeat. Since the wine could be sourced from different places each year, it's potentially the opposite of terroir, the association of wine to a particular place, and all the elements of soil, micro-climate, elevation, sun exposure and so on that give that site an identity reflected in its produce.
I've written much about branding here recently. The branding concept here is based on the old vinyl records that were the means to release and distribute music from the early 1950s through the '70's. Popular records were the two-sided '45'. The "A" side contained the featured hit song of the release, while the "B" side was sometimes 'filler', or an additional release to fill out the record. But once in a while, the 'B' side was as much a hit as the leader, often the real find, frequently revealing an undiscovered gem.
B Side wines play on this metaphor or concept and likens the A Side to the A-list world of Napa Valley wines from the prominent prestigious properties on main street Napa Valley, along mainstream Highway 29 and Silverado Trail. B Side writes, "Hailing from Napa's "flip" side, B Side reds are crafted with grapes sourced from the slightly-off-the-beaten-track vineyards along the valley's eastern hillsides. They're authentic originals: a little experimental and unexpected, crafted and perfected behind-the-scenes for those with a penchant for discovery."
"The grapes comprising our two B Side offerings come from the "flip" side of Napa: vineyards tucked into the benchlands, slopes and hillsides of eastern Napa Valley near the scenic Silverado Trail."
They claim the majority of this blend comes from "selected vineyards in Oak Knoll, Calistoga and Yountville. Due to the warmer weather in Calistoga and Yountville, the fruit picked here adds impressive depth and flavors to the wine. The Oak Knoll district is ideally situated near Los Carneros, allowing for early morning fog, cool nights and extended hang time, all of which play a major role in developing smoothness and concentrated color. The vines are nearing 20 years of age in most of these blocks and have provided for a near perfect harvest of Clone 7 Cabernet Sauvignon this vintage."
Therein lies the negociant's challenge. Do they have rights to the follow on vintage (s) of this wine? Can we expect a release next year? Or is this a one hit wonder? And when will we know? So don't get too invested in this and treat as a single release, and stay tuned for what happens next. In fairness, this is their third release of B Side Napa Cab, but its not clear if they're all from the same source, or not. In any event, enjoy a good value, high QPR interesting release Napa cab while it lasts.
This B-Side Cellars Cabernet contains 6% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot to round out the blend to add complexity and aromatic intrigue. The wine was aged in 80% French oak for 14 months before bottling.
From the winery: "Our beautifully crafted 2012 B Side Cabernet Sauvignon is pure, rich and deep, featuring aromas of blackberry, sweet tobacco leaf and notes of warm caramel. This wine is marked by a distinctively complex and subtle mix of black currant, toasted almond and anise, with a supple core of cherry and dark chocolate flavors. Full-bodied and mouth filling, the wine shows tremendous dimension with a seamless finish that lingers throughout the palate." They say this 2012 bottling has yet to be professionally reviewed, but the 2011 vintage garnered 90 points and an "Editors' Choice" designation by Wine Enthusiast.
The flagship B Side Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is dark inky garnet colored, full-bodied with black berry and black raspberry fruit flavors with tones of graphite and tobacco with a hint of mocha on a finish of moderate lingering tannins.
RM 88 points.