I’m not going to lie, I kind of stocked up on St. Francis Winery wines when I was at the shop one day. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic? It’s one of the wineries I remember most last time I was up in wine country. Beautiful estate, quirky server, and bad-ass bold wines — the eclectic mix overwhelms the senses, making memories you’re sure to look back on with a smile.

I kept this Pinot in the cellar until the opportune food pairing presented itself. I was more than excited to uncork this wine, anticipating the intensity and density not often found in the soft, aerated Pinots of Sonoma County. Behold: A different Pinot perspective.


About the Wine: St. Francis Winery Sonoma County Pinot Noir is made of 100% Pinot Noir grapes picked from various vineyards in Sonoma County — specifically those vineyards in the coastal region where foggy, moist air and the general cool temperature allows the grapes to stay on the vines a bit longer, developing those deeper flavors.

Each vineyard harvested was fermented separately, cold soaked for a slow fermentation. The wine was then racked off into French Oak barrels (25% new), undergoing natural malolactic fermentation and then aging for ten months before blending and bottling.

14.5% ABV

Flavor Profile: Such a pretty shade of cranberry in the glass, the St. Frances Sonoma County Pinot Noir emits a bouquet of bright red fruits — strawberries, Rainier cherries, and, yes, cranberry. Behind them though is a little something extra, from the oak perhaps, exuding a faint bit of earth, as if the stems and a few leaves of those fruits are still attached. The initial palate is a celebration of those aromas, but with a bit of a darker tone — those strawberries are over-ripe, that cherry borders on cherry cola, and the cranberry has gone missing. Mid-palate you’ll discover that this Pinot has a dirty secret. As the fruit flavors subside, the delicate acid paves the way to an oh-so-subtle minerality that tastes of dry, salty sand. It’s as if you’ve entered a dessert that once was the ocean floor. A little of that sea-stink resides — and it is delicious.

The finish — though a solid one physically, is an open-ended one mentally. Indeed, this is a fuller-bodied Pinot Noir that, takes on classical nuances most often found in wines from the motherland (France), and yet there’s no mistaking that dusty minerality is pure California, pure Sonoma.

Food Pairing: Pull on those sea-faring notes and enjoy St. Francis Sonoma County Pinot Noir with a full-bodied, naturally salty fish like Atlantic Salmon. Lightly pan sear it, keep it rare, and enjoy its natural flavors. Serve the salmon atop wilted power greens (Kale, spinach, chard) and call out those little stems and leaves lingering on those berry notes in the wine.

More Info: If you haven’t read my other St. Francis Winery reviews, please do so. I found the St. Francis Winery Merlot at Safeway (Sale Price: $21.99). For more information about the winery and their wines, please do visit the St. Francis Winery website.

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