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These fine wines are distributed throughout the United States. So critical is the quality of the grape to the character of the wine that winemaker Tom Mackey monitors the vineyards as well as the cellar, ensuring himself of only the finest, most intensely flavored fruit for St. Francis' ultra-premium wine program. Tom's gentle winemaking approach begins in the vineyard where all grapes are hand-harvested. Through his judicious selection of grapes, his insistence on hand-harvesting and the use of barrels for both fermentation and aging, Tom has developed wines that are both an expression of ideal vineyard conditions and thoughtful winemaking. The results are wines of extraordinary flavor, richness and intensity.
Rich and butterscotchy, this Chardonnay is a fresh expression of the classic varietal. At least half the grapes in this blend were grown in our own vineyards; the rest we carefully selected from nearby vineyards in the Dry Creek, Sonoma, Alexander, and Russian River Valley appellations, choosing only fully ripened fruit. We fermented the wine in different lots in our home winery, some in new oak barrels, some in stainless steel tanks, aging both for six months before blending them, and then finished it with 100% malolactic fermentation. As you’ll taste, the barrel component adds a toasty complexity; the tank, fruity grape notes. Fruit and melon aromas are offset on the palate by hints of oak and vanilla. Medium- to full-bodied, this Chardonnay has ripe fruit flavors, good acid balance in the mouth, and a rich, persistent finish.
All the grapes in this rich varietal come from one of three Sonoma County appellations -Sonoma Valley, Dry Creek, or Alexander Valley. Harvested by hand from October through early November, the fully ripened clusters are then crushed into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks and fermented from eight to fifteen days. The wine is then aged in different lots for fourteen to sixteen months in American and French oak, and then blended without filtration. Once bottled we hold the wine another four to eight months so that it’s fully developed by the time we release it. The result is a classic Sonoma County Cabernet with firm structure, generous tannins, and deep color accentuating the hints of black currant and spicy oak.
Grown in loam, clay, and volcanic soil mixed with gravel, the 100% Merlot grapes in this wine are particularly intense. All come from Sonoma County, and most from one of St. Francis’ three estate vineyards in the Sonoma Valley, with micro-climates ranging from the hillsides of the Mayacamas Mountains to the cooler valley floor. The grapes are harvested by hand and crushed into stainless-steel tanks for fermentation; the wine is then aged in American and French oak barrels for a full eighteen months. Bottled without filtration, it is held an additional eight months before release. A varietal classic with distinctive Sonoma County style, it has strong black fruit, spicy herb, and vanilla overtones, which give way to full fruit on the palate, nuanced with chocolate. Its round, generous tannins give it a big finish. A wine with exceptional Sonoma fruit and softer tannins, this Merlot marries well with fish prepared with garlic and herbs and other robust flavors.
When we say “old vines,” we mean vines at least fifty and often up to a hundred years old. We’ve found a series of small vineyards in Sonoma County that date back to the turn of the last century. Because of their great age, these plots yield less than four tons per acre of exceptionally concentrated fruit. Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet vines planted among the Zinfandel add texture and color to the “field blend. ”We hand harvest late, so that some of the grapes have become raisins, further intensifying the varietal flavors. Once crushed, the wine is fermented in stainless steel tanks for twelve to eighteen days, then aged in new American oak barrels from twelve to fifteen months. The wine is held another four to eight months after bottling. This is a plump, layered Zin with complex black cherry, raspberry, and black pepper flavors that unfold on the palate. With lush complex fruit and a New World Italian heritage, this wine is a match for all things Italian. A winner with chocolate desserts too!