Reserve Merlot 2016
/ Sonoma Valley
Grapes: 77% Merlot, 23% Malbec
The Reserve Merlot shows off the rich and flavorful fruit grown in Sonoma Valley. This picturesque valley is surrounded by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, providing perfect conditions for Merlot and Malbec grapes. This area’s warm summer days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in fruit with deep, complex flavors and aromas. For this special wine we source the fruit from our Wild Oak Estate Vineyard as well as the Dinner Vineyard high atop Sonoma Mountain. After hand-sorting, the grapes underwent a two-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. The wine was then aged in 100% French oak barrels, 55% new, where it underwent malolactic fermentation, followed by 20 months of aging.
USA Wine Ratings2015 vintage
Wine Advocate2015 vintage
Harvest in 2016 started in the middle of August during a pattern of warm sunny days cooled by foggy mornings and breezy afternoons for most of the area. The early months of the year were very mild with little rain allowing the vines to progress steadily and uneventfully. Yields throughout the region were slightly below average but moderate weather starting in early summer gave the fruit plenty of time to develop great color and flavor, resulting in beautifully balanced wines.
This Reserve Merlot shows off the rich flavor and balanced acidity that comes from ideal Sonoma Valley conditions. Abundant aromas of dark red fruits and French Roast coffee merge with mocha, blackberry and cherry preserve flavors, finishing smooth and slightly spicy.
Excellent with duck confit, short ribs and poached pears.
GRAPES: 77% Merlot, 23% Malbec
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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