Reserve Merlot 2017
/ Sonoma Valley
Grapes: 100% Merlot
Fruit from the Reserve Merlot comes exclusively from Sonoma Valley vineyards, which are 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. After hand-sorting, the grapes underwent a five-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. Prior to fermentation, a saigné was performed. The selected lots are fermented separately in stainless steel tanks. The wine is then aged in 100% French oak barrels, where it underwent malolactic fermentation, followed by 20 months of aging.
Wine Spectator2017 vintage
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition2017 vintage
The 2017 growing season started out wet with record-breaking rainfall refreshing the vineyards after several dry years. The mild spring led to timely bud break and good fruit set, followed by ideal conditions of cool mornings and warm, sunny days throughout the summer months. The first grapes of the season were “blessed” on August 25, officially beginning the St. Francis harvest. A few days of intense heat at the beginning of September sped up ripening throughout the region. Well-timed picks throughout the month meant the majority of fruit was in by the first week of October. Beautiful color, well-defined aromatics and outstanding flavor are all evident in this year’s vintage.
This Reserve wine captivates with the expressive flavors, full body and balanced acidity that come from ideal Sonoma Valley conditions. Abundant aromas of dark red fruits and French Roast coffee merge with mocha, plum and cherry preserve flavors, finishing smooth and slightly spicy.
Excellent with duck confit, short ribs and poached pears.
GRAPES: 100% Merlot
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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