Not your typical robust California Cabernet

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A demure drink: The 2010 Highway 12 Cabernet Sauvignon is a restrained red with a subtle personality. | Matt Marton~Sun-Times Media

Travel through the corridor of Highway 12 in Northern California and it is likely you will catch a glimpse of the scenic aspects of nature along with some well-known Sonoma Valley wineries. These might include Arrowood, Benzinger, Chateau St. Jean, Landmark and St. Francis Wineries. Michael Sebastiani, whose heritage was founded in winemaking partnered with Doug Offenbacher and Paul Giusto to pay homage to the architects who made this stretch of road famous. Highway 29 Vineyards and Winery was founded in 2003 and dedicated to these icons. In achieving this goal they source fruit from respected grower families in Sonoma including Sangiacomo Family Vineyards and John Sears of Serres Ranch. Michael oversees winemaking while Paul’s attention is committed to marketing and sales. What initially began as a modest production of just over 600 cases has expanded to over 3,000 cases.

The 2010 Highway 12 Cabernet Sauvignon, from Sonoma County, is not your stereotypical robust California Cabernet with heavy amounts of berry-laden fruit, but instead it is a red with a more restrained and subtle personality. When first opened this wine is somewhat awkward and shy with notes of delicate cedar, wood elements and flowers. It flits with being graceful, but then composes itself after an hour. The wine’s personality blossoms with sage, rosemary and dark cassis flavors evolving and taking over the middle of your palate. The rhubarb and red licorice element are intertwined with soft ripe tannins. Perhaps this is characteristic of the vintage or more likely the charm that Michael wants to express in his wines.

Suggested Retail: $17.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.