01 August 2012

St. Francis Chardonnay and Old Vines Zinfandel

Sonoma's St. Francis Winery has been making wine since 1979, though they grew and sold grapes for a few years before that.

I've reviewed a couple of their wines before, namely "Red" and their Claret. The product line is pretty well distributed throughout the country and shouldn't be too difficult to find. I review a lot of small production, hard to find wines, but it's important not to forget wines that most people can actually go out and purchase on their way home from work. No need to have a friend in Hungary smuggle something through customs or become close with someone that has a massive cellar full of collectibles.

2010 St. Francis Chardonnay
100% Chardonnay
Sonoma County
$15, 14.2% abv.

This is a classic California Chardonnay, with notes of vanilla and butterscotch and a slight tropical fruit profile. Low acidity and a round mouthfeel with a lingering finish. Excellent pairing for roast chicken with garlic and rosemary.

2008 St. Francis Old Vines Zinfandel
89% Zinfandel, with the remainder a blend of Alicante Bouschet, Mourvèdre, Carignane, Syrah, and Petite Sirah
Sonoma County
$20, 15.5% abv.

People argue over the exact definition of "old vines", but since these are 55-100 years old I don't think anyone will complain about this label. I liked this wine better on the second day, which makes me think I should have decanted it first. It's a big and jammy wine with lots of blackberry aromas and flavors. Touches of spice and leather and dark plum, but primarily a powerful fruit flavor. Tannins are relatively mild in comparison. On the second day, it was lighter and smoother, and made a great companion to a pepperoni pizza.

Note: These wines were received as samples.

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