A massive, chewy, intensely fragrant wine dense plum, raspberry and cherry fruit flavors and aromas punctuated by smoke, coffee, spice and minerals underscored by firm, masculine new oak tannins.
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CINGHIALE RATING 3.8 Deep red-opaque. Intense aroma of berries, plums, figs with just a hint of barnyard. Full taste with well rounded tannins and acidity and some sweetness. Good, long lasting flavors and aftertaste. Not overly fruity or sweet but a nice balance between the two. One of the better wines but still not truly identifiable as zinfandel maybe because most of these wines do not use 100% Zinfandel any longer.
Wine maker notes
The three varietals from the Pagani vineyard are field-blended and grapes from the other vineyards hand-harvested, brought to the winery and crushed into temperature-controlled stainless steel tanks. When the tanks are two-thirds to three-quarters full, the must is inoculated with selected yeasts and yeast nutrient. Fermentation, which lasts 12 to 18 days due to the elevated levels of grape sugar, takes place at temperatures of up to 85° to 90°F, and once fermentation is underway, the juice is pumped over the cap of skins three times daily for a half hour each to extract maximum color. Toward the end of the alcoholic fermentation, a culture is introduced to initiate the malolactic fermentation; the wine is pressed from the skins into fresh stainless steel, where malolactic fermentation is completed over four to six weeks. The lots are racked into 60 percent new and 40 percent one year old American oak barrels, the spicy qualities of which marry well with the variety, for an aging period of 12 to 15 months. The barrels are topped roughly once every three months. At the end of the term in oak the blend is assembled without fining or filtration, and bottled.
For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. Our founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979 with his business partner Lloyd Canton.
Our first winemaker, Tom Mackey, joined St. Francis in 1983 and was renowned for elevating both the quality and style of Sonoma Merlot as an ultra-premium, stand-alone varietal. He also cultivated an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation, enabling us to acquire and develop new vineyards and expand our wine portfolio.
In 1988 St. Francis partnered with the Kopf family, long admired for their historic family legacy in the wine and spirits industry and their commitment to quality. That legacy began in 1933 upon the repeal of prohibition when Rudy Kopf founded the wine and spirits department of Macy’s Department Store in New York, turning it into what was then one of the finest wine and spirits retailers in the country. He later established his own wine and spirits company, now owned by his three daughters.
Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues our long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes. We farm more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. We also nurture long-term relationships with top Sonoma County grape growers, giving the Winery access to some of the region’s most coveted old vines Zinfandel and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards.