Reserve Merlot 2014
/ Sonoma Valley
Grapes: 77% Merlot, 19% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
The Reserve Sonoma Valley Merlot shows off the rich and flavorful fruit grown in Certified Sustainable Estate Vineyards. Merlot grapes thrive in Sonoma Valley Wild Oak and Behler vineyards. These vineyards are both relatively well protected from extreme weather patterns such as excessive heat and wind. This protection allows for slow and even ripening throughout the growing season resulting in fruit with great color and deep flavors. The Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from Lagomarsino Estate Vineyard high in the hills near Healdsburg. The hillside setting produces small, concentrated grapes that are a perfect complement to the Merlot and Malbec. After hand-sorting, the grapes underwent a two-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. For added depth and complexity, we blended in a small amount of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. The selected lots are fermented separately in stainless steel tanks. The wine was then aged in 100% French oak barrels, 48% new, where it underwent malolactic fermentation, followed by 20 months of aging.
Tasting Panel2014 vintage
Wine Enthusiast2014 vintage
Warm sunny days throughout the spring and summer months set the stage for a spectacular harvest in September 2014. The lack of rain meant that harvest began a little earlier than normal and was short in length, finishing up by the end of October. The temperate days leading up to harvest produced good yields of high quality fruit with concentrated flavors, complex aromatics and excellent structure.
The Reserve Sonoma Valley Merlot is a lush wine with spicy aromas of cherry, licorice and vanilla. Flavors of blackberry and cassis emerge before a long, smooth finish.
Excellent with duck confit, short ribs and poached pears
GRAPES: 77% Merlot, 19% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
APPELLATION: Sonoma Valley
AGING: 20 Months, 100% French Oak
points of distinction
- Aged in 100% French oak barrels
vineyard details +
Sonoma Valley AVA
Sonoma Valley AVA is in southern Sonoma County, flanked by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas to the east. The climate is moderated by the Pacific Ocean’s cool summer fogs and the influence of San Pablo Bay to the south. St. Francis owns 600 acres of carefully chosen, diverse Sonoma County vineyards. The winery’s estate vineyards give it complete control over growing and production, a cornerstone to St. Francis’ quality philosophy. Each of the four estate-owned vineyards has its own soil profile and unique mesoclimate that forms a “tapestry of terroirs” carefully matched to the grape varieties grown there.
about the grape +
Merlot makes plump, succulent wines to drink young or opulently massive wines for aging. Has silky, blackberry and currant fruit, with spice, earth, tobacco and chocolate notes, and soft tannins.
– Chris Louton, Winemaker
“Putting this wine together, it was important to find the lots that really showcased why Sonoma Valley is the home for our Merlot. Dark cherry, plum and savory aromas along with mocha are highlighted by using Malbec to add additional layers of complexity and mouthfeel. Our warm days, breezy afternoons and cool nights give us the opportunity to slowly ripen and develop all these great characters.”
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