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St. Francis' Merlot Reserve is produced and grown exclusively from a 20 acre parcel situated in the heart of the estate vineyard in Sonoma Valley. The soil formation is distinctive, well-drained with rock, gravel and loam topsoils which yield small quantities of grapes per vine and an excellent concentration of fruit. The vineyard's cool microclimate is moderated by breezes from the Pacific Ocean and the San Francisco Bay and characterized by the morning and evening fogs. These cool night temperatures are critical to the development of complex fruit of superior quality. Vines are drip irrigated and canopies thinned by removing leaves from the vines to increase exposure to the sun, concentrating color and flavor. Harvest customarily occurs between mid-September and the end of October.
The fruit is harvested by hand and crushed into temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. Fermentation takes place in 8 to 15 days. The different lots are racked into new and one year old French and American oak barrels, and remain separate during the 24-30 month aging period. The blend is then assembled. Bottling takes place without fining or filtration and the wine is held nine to ten months prior to release.
St. Francis Vineyards & Winery, located in the heart of Sonoma County, produces big, bold, full-bodied wines that over deliver on flavor. Each wine is made from 100% hand-picked, Sonoma County fruit and are direct expressions of winemaker Tom Mackey, whose philosophy calls for "maximum extraction, minimal interaction."
St. Francis achieves critical acclaim from the wine media who refers to it as The House of Big Reds. Among its many accolades, St. Francis was recently named International Red Wine Maker of The Year by the London International Wine Challenge.
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the...Read More About Sonoma County
No second fiddle
Merlot is coming back into its own. High popularity led to mass production, which then led to a backlash towards the variety (remember Miles in Sideways?). But passionate Merlot producers, and of course the right bank of Bordeaux, continued to produce quality versions of this grape. Merlot remains the principle grape of top chateaux in St...Read More About Merlot
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