When I find a producer who has successfully provided me with wines with a well-rounded palate, I feel comfortable enough to take a chance and try some of the “harder” varietals. And, let’s face it, Cabs can be harsh. But I so loved St. Francis Zinfandel (and I’m quite picky about my Zinfandel), that I didn’t even hesitate when I needed a Cab and came across this offering from St. Francis.


About the Wine: St. Francis Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot grapes the St. Francis Winery & Vineyards estate vineyards in the Sonoma and Russian River Valleys, as well as, according to the spec sheet, “from growers in Sonoma County’s other top appellations, including Dry Creek Valley and Alexander Valley.”

All the grapes were destemmed, cold-soaked, and inoculated with several different yeast strains during primary fermentation. The wine then went through secondary, malolactic fermentation 100% French oak barrels (18% new) where it aged for 18 months.

14.8% ABV

Flavor Profile: Thick, dark, inky on the pour, but in the light, there’s an aura of a light, bright pinkish-hue. My first words when i took my initial whiff of this wine, “Wow. That smells like Christmas.” It’s the scent of fresh cloves, an aroma of baking spices, and a nose that speaks highly of a pinewood forest.

The palate is surprisingly refreshing with initial flavors of black cherry cola, a hint of anise, and a bit of green herbaceousness that I can’t quite put my finger on. There’s a solid dose of acidity in this Cabernet that keeps the overall palate quite light given the varietal’s “big, bold” stereotypes. What I particularly enjoy is the restraint in the tannins. The wine has a strong, solid body, but the texture is continuously smooth from start to finish.

Food Pairing: I bought St. Francis Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon because I was having spaghetti bolognese that evening for dinner. And I’ll just say right here and now that it was the perfect pairing. The spices and herbs in the pasta sauce was elevated the spices and herbs in the wine to a most exciting level. Yet, that new oak aging did well to keep things soft and round on the palate — no “spicy” kick or acidic disruption to speak of. And those soft tannins were strong enough to stand up to the hearty meat. Like I said, perfection.

More Info: If you haven’t yet read my (glowing) review of the St. Francis Winery Sonoma County “Old Vines” Zinfandel, please do — I highly recommend it. Also, please see a few of my other Zinfandel recommendations because, as I always say, I’m an average wine consumer, but a picky wine drinker, so I truly believe you can trust my tasting notes.

For more specific information about St. Francis Winery & Vineyards, please do visit the St. Francis Winery & Vineyards website. I purchased the St. Francis Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon at CVS (Sale Price: $14.99).

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