Rich and full-bodied with superb fruit depth and voluptuous, ripe berry flavors carrying into a long, lovely finish.
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St. Francis' interpretation of this varietal is a full and intense expression of the grape in a distinctive Sonoma style. The perfumed aromas of plummy black fruit and spicy herb and vanilla nuances are confirmed in the ripe, lush flavors. On the palate, the fruit is rich and full with hints of chocolate, set in a structure of generous, round tannins which are carried into the persistent, mouthfilling finish.
Wine maker notes
The fruit is hand-harvested, brought to the winery and crushed into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. When the tanks are two-thirds to three-quarters full, the must is inoculated with selected yeasts and yeast nutrient. Fermentation takes place at temperatures of up to 85° to 90°F over a period of eight to 15 days, and once fermentation is underway, the juice is pumped over the cap of skins three times daily for a half hour each to extract maximum color. Toward the end of the alcoholic fermentation, a culture is introduced to initiate the malolactic fermentation; the wine is pressed from the skins into fresh stainless steel, where malolactic fermentation is completed over four to six weeks.
The lots are racked into French and American oak barrels of up three years' age, of which 25 to 30 percent are new, and remain separate during the 19 to 20-month aging period. Depending on the vintage, origin of oak is in proportions of 20 to 40 percent French oak, which lends refined, toasty, vanilla notes; and 60 to 80 percent American oak, which contributes tannic structure and cedar and tobacco notes. The barrels are topped roughly once every three months. At the end of the term in oak the blend is assembled, and unless it has not clarified sufficiently in barrel, the wine is bottled without filtration and held for eight months prior to release.
Tuna Marinated and Seared or Grilled
Roast Leg of Lamb Basted with Fresh Rosemary and Olive Oil
Peking Duck or other Asian Soy Based Dishes
“South of the Border” Dishes like Chicken Mole
or Braised Pork made with Mild Chilies
Dry Aged Cheeses
For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. Our founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton.
Our first winemaker, Tom Mackey, joined St. Francis in 1983 and was renowned for elevating both the quality and style of Sonoma Merlot as an ultra-premium, stand-alone varietal. He also cultivated an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation, enabling us to acquire and develop new vineyards and expand our wine portfolio.
In 1988 St. Francis partnered with the Kopf family, long admired for their historic family legacy in the wine and spirits industry and their commitment to quality. That legacy began in 1933 upon the repeal of prohibition when Rudy Kopf founded the wine and spirits department of Macy’s Department Store in New York, turning it into what was then one of the finest wine and spirits retailers in the country. He later established his own wine and spirits company, now owned by his three daughters.
Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues our long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes. We farm more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. We also nurture long-term relationships with top Sonoma County grape growers, giving the Winery access to some of the region’s most coveted old vines Zinfandel and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards.