The Merlot grapes of St. Francis primarily come from its three estate vineyards located in the heart of Sonoma Valley. The soils of these vineyards vary from a mixture of loams, clays, volcanics intermingled with rock and heavy gravel. This type of soil and rock mixture promotes a very intense grape. The microclimates are different, varying from hillside slopes in the nearby Mayacama Mountains to the moderated cooler climate of the valley floor.
The grapes are hand-harvested and crushed into temperature controlled stainless steel tanks. After fermentation is completed the different lots are pressed and racked into French and American oak barrels to complete the aging process. The wine is then bottled without filtration and held for eight months prior to release.
St. Francis winemaker Tom Mackey says, "My interpretation of this varietal is a full and intense expression of the grape in a distinctive Sonoma style. The perfumed aromas of plummy black fruit, spicy herb and vanilla nuances are confirmed in the ripe lush flavors. On the palate, the fruit is rich and full with hints of chocolate, set in a structure of generous, round tannins which are carried into persistent, mouthfilling finish.