Double Gold Medal | Sonoma County Harvest Fair | August 2016
This Russian River Chardonnay has the natural acidity that comes from grapes grown in this cool, foggy area. Bountiful flavors complement the apple and brioche aromas. On the palate, crisp Granny Smith apple and lemon meringue pie precede a smooth, bright finish that is balanced with a touch of creaminess.
2015 brought an early and light harvest that began on August 10, the earliest date in St. Francis’ history. The year started out very warm and dry but then cool, damp weather in May hampered fruit set. Though the result was smaller, looser clusters on the vine, the warm and consistent summer that followed produced high-quality fruit with exceptional aromatics and concentrated flavors.
The cool climate of the beautiful Russian River Valley is ideal for Chardonnay grapes. Located in the heart of this famed, grape-growing region is the Martinelli Vineyard. The Martinelli family has grown grapes here since the 1880s and their fruit is recognized for its high quality and rich, expressive flavors.
Picked at dawn, these grapes arrived at the winery while still cold and were carefully placed directly into our small bladder press. The free-run juice was collected and sent to a stainless steel rotary tank for cold soaking before a slow, cool fermentation. By using the rotary tanks we were able to create a creamy mouthfeel without adding oak notes. To highlight the wine’s clean, crisp texture and bright aromatics, we prevented malolactic fermentation and kept the wine in a tank for five months before bottling.