Best of Class | San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition | Jan 2018
This is an elegant, full-bodied wine with rich color and pronounced aromatics. Dark red fruit flavors of plum, black cherry, and currant complement a note of espresso bean. This Merlot stands out with good structure, nicely integrated tannins, and a long and lingering finish.
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.
Our founder Joe Martin was the first grower to plant Merlot in Sonoma Valley when he came to this area in the 1970s. This picturesque valley is surrounded by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, providing perfect conditions for Merlot grapes. The Behler Vineyard, our first Estate Vineyard, is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley where warm summer days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in fruit with deep, complex flavors and aromas.
The grapes are hand-sorted and undergo a two-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. After primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is placed into French oak barrels where it undergoes malolactic fermentation and 20 months of aging in 30% new oak.