While we were staying at the ski cabin with friends this weekend, we tasted a couple of newly released wines from St. Francis Winery & Vineyards that delicious life PR had sent me.
Located in Kenwood at the northern end of Sonoma Valley, St. Francis winery produces big, full-bodied wines from a variety of vineyards through out Sonoma County. What I particularly appreciate about St. Francis is the fact that since 2004, the winery is engaged in serious green and sustainable practices, including the installation of solar panels on the roof of the winery, the use of electric cart for the maintenance crews, water conservation programs in the vineyard and the winery, and several recycling programs. “With success comes responsibility to future generations who will live and work here as well”, says Christopher Silva, President & CEO of the winery on the company's website. “Engaging in green practices is the right thing to do, which makes it the right way to run a business.”
We first tasted the 2006 St. Francis Merlot Sonoma County with a assortment of country pâté and cheese. The wine is a blend of valley and mountain grown grapes, hand harvested and aged in American and French oak barrels for 23 months. Showing a dark red color, the wine had aromas of sweet blackberry and vanilla on the nose. On the palate, it was full-bodied and still young and tannic with a pleasant lingering finish of spices, pepper and earthy flavors. The wine was good with the pâté but the best match was with the surprisingly sweet (for the season) strawberries that we had for dessert.
The other wine was the 2007 St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel Sonoma County. This “Old Vines” blend is made of grapes from at least 50 year old dry-farmed vines with many as old as one hundred years old. These vines come from small family-owned plots dating from the early 20th century and planted with a field blend of Zinfandel intermixed with some Petite Sirah and Alicante Bouschet. The grapes are hand-picked and aged in new American oak barrels for twelve to fifteen months.
The wine had a deep color and a nose of red berry and citrus. On the palate, it was full-bodied, strong, and sweet, with floral and sour cherry notes. It was a good accompaniment to our Pasta Bolognese, especially after I added a handful of black olives to the sauce.
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