Gold Medal | SF Chronicle Wine Competition | January 2018
Claret is the British-inspired name for an elegant red blend of classic Bordeaux varietals, in this case, Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and a touch of Petit Verdot. This expressive blend shows off-flavors and aromas of cherry compote, dark red berries, and warm baking spices. The silky entry finishes smoothly yet structured.
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 grapes that go into our Sonoma County Claret are from our Certified Sustainable Estate Vineyards and top growers in Sonoma County, a prime region for nurturing Bordeaux varieties such as Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. These grapes thrive in our temperate Sonoma weather and rocky soils, each contributing distinctive and individual qualities to the final blend.
All grapes are gently de-stemmed before cold-soaking for two days to extract optimal color and flavor. The fruit is fermented in separate lots, allowing each lot to be individually and distinctly crafted before being aged in French oak barrels, 20% new. Before final blending, the wines are kept 16 months in barrel.