Gold Medal | International Chardonnay Symposium | June 2016
Best of Class | Grand Harvest Awards | December 2015
Best of Sonoma Valley AVA | Grand Harvest Awards | December 2015
Double Gold | Grand Harvest Awards | December 2015
Gold Medal | Sonoma County Harvest Fair | September 2015
This elegant Chardonnay has aromas of candied ginger, marmalade, and graham cracker precede juicy flavors of Fuji apple and pear.
Warm sunny days throughout the spring and summer months set the stage for a spectacular harvest in September 2014. The lack of rain meant that harvest began a little earlier than normal and was short in length, finishing up by the end of October. The temperate days leading up to harvest produced good yields of high-quality fruit with concentrated flavors, complex aromatics, and excellent structure.
This rich Chardonnay comes from our Estate Behler Vineyard, named for the Behler family, who first cultivated the land in the 1900s. Our founder Joe Martin purchased the 100-acre Sonoma Valley vineyard in 1971, and it later became the site of the original St. Francis Winery founded in 1979.
With its cool mornings and warm afternoons, the Sonoma Valley is ideally suited for Chardonnay characterized by full, round flavors and crisp acidity. The fruit is picked at daybreak and delivered to the winery while still cold to preserve the wine’s delicate flavors, aromas, and acidity. Grapes are pressed whole cluster, then fermented sur lie in a temperature-controlled room kept at 55 degrees to ensure slow fermentation. The wine undergoes 100% malolactic fermentation and is stirred by hand three times per week to increase mid-palate intensity. Winemaker Katie Madigan ages this wine for nine months in 100% new French oak barrels with a light, soft toast to create a creamy mouthfeel without heavy oak notes.