Sbragia Family Vineyards has all the elements necessary for an interesting wine story: family-owned vineyards, multi-generational history of winemaking and well-crafted wine. We recently became acquainted with Sbragia Family Vineyards (pronounced SPRA-juh) through a trio of wines sent to us as tasting samples. We are happy to have met and to share these wines with you.
The Sbragia family has roots in Sonoma County dating back to 1904 when Ed Sbragia’s grandfather imigrated from Tuscany. He worked for Italian Swiss Colony and it was Gino, the next generation, who first planted wine grapes. He planted mostly Zinfandel which, except for enough to make wine for the family, he sold to wineries.
Gino’s dream was to start a family winery and that dream became his son Ed’s dream as well. After growing up tending the vines beside his father, Ed pursued a university education in science and enology that led to the beginning of a 32-year winemaking career at Beringer in Napa Valley.
In 2006 Ed and Jane Sbragia purchased Lake Sonoma Winery, which became Sbragia Family Vineyards. In Ed’s words,
“The Family Vineyards are my father’s legacy to me and my children. I love this land and making wine from it. Bottling it under the family name affirms all the work my father did for me. It is something I had to do to show my gratitude to my father, Gino.”Sbragia Family Vineyards
Ed’s son Adam Sbragia grew up in the family vineyards as well. He followed his father into winemaking and eventually to Beringer. It was at Beringer that Adam began making wine for Sbragia Family Vineyard before the family opened their own winery.
2018 Sbragia Family Vineyards Home Ranch Chardonnay, Dry Creek Valley — pale yellow in the glass with aromas of baked pears. Flavors of pears, grapefruit and gravelly minerality finish with a hint of citrus pith. The wine is light in the mouth and at the same time a bit round. Refreshing and elegant. 14.2% abv. SRP $32
This lovely Chardonnay has me thinking about Dungeness crab season, which at this point is delayed. Let’s hope the commercial season can kick off December 16. This Chardonnay would pair so well with Dungeness crab salad.
Sbragia’s Home Ranch Estate Vineyard lies adjacent to the family home. The 13-acre vineyard was planted to Chardonnay in 1995 and is the source for this bottling. The 2018 growing season was ideal and aging for 6 months in new and used French oak has resulted a Chardonnay as lovely for sipping as pairing with a meal.
2015 Sbragia Family Vineyards Andolsen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley — dark ruby with violet at the rim. Generous dark fruit and floral aromas along with dried herbs and dusty earth. Flavors of cedar, plums, currants, blackberries, earth and dried herbs are supported by drying tannins. The finish is medium in length with nice acidity. 14.1% abv. $44
Andolsen Vineyard is owned by family friend and physician Richard Andolsen. Ed Sbragia selected his favorite blocks from the 10-acre vineyard, located in Dry Creek’s western foothills, for this bottling. Cabernet Sauvignon mostly stands on its own here along with just 4% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot all aged for 18 months in new and used French oak.
This Cabernet is nicely balanced, easy sipping and very food friendly. Pair it with about any braised meat for a homey meal. My tasting notes rarely agree with those of the winemaker, but in this case they were very close.
2016 Home Field Red Blend, Dry Creek Valley — medium ruby in the glass with generous aromas of red fruit, blueberries, alfalfa and caramel. Flavors of blackberries, ripe raspberries and blueberries blend with earth and dried herbs. Tannins are drying and the finish is medium in length. 14.5% abv. SRP $25
This is the first vintage of Adam Sbragia’s Home Field Blend. This wine is a nod to the field blends from back in the day when an assortment of red grape varieties were planted together in the vineyard. Home Field is a blend of five grape varieties grown in six different vineyards and vinified into one wine. The result is what Adam refers to as, “the best wine for your table.” Indeed, pair this with burgers, pasta or pizza for a weeknight meal.
The blend is 51% Zinfandel, 8% Carignane, 4% Petite Sirah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot. Three Sbragia estate vineyards are included, Gino’s, Home Ranch and La Promessa, along with Teldeschi Vineyard, Forchini Vineyard and Andolsen Vineyard all sourced from longtime friends.
It is impossible to write about a Sonoma County winery without mentioning the recent Kincade Fire and stress how much wineries in the region need your business. Sbragia Family Vineyards offers a number of tasting experiences at both the family winery on Dry Creek Road and the tasting lounge on Sonoma Plaza. Their wines are available for purchase on their website and would make a delicious addition to your Thanksgiving meal.