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St. Francis Reserve Merlot 1998

Merlot from Sonoma County, California
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Winemaker Notes

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 vineyards 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.

Critical Acclaim

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St. Francis

St. Francis Winery

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St. Francis Winery, , California
St. Francis
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.

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.

Pauillac

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Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington, and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and/or Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde river, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful, and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb, or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

HEI1497650_1998 Item# 46593

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