ST. FRANCIS WINERY AND VINEYARDS

100 Pythian Road, Santa Rosa, California 95409.
by Sergio Sismondo


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Never miss an opportunity for a visit to this superb establishment. It is located on the east side of the Sonoma Highway (Route 12), near Santa Rosa. The winery recently moved and is housed in an impressive, all new, Mission-style complex of buildings. The tasting room is elegant and spacious. There is much enthusiasm in the air, appropriately so, to match the superb quality of the wines produced here. Not only are there great wines to taste, but also an exciting variety of elegant accessories, wine books, and cook books for visitors to purchase.

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Winemaster and Director of Winemaking Thomas Mackey signing the bottles.

Wine experts Adam Glatt, Kay Connor, and Vanessa Lynch-Thomspon guided us through our tastings, and they ably took us from one wine to another with all the pertinent information. We thank them profusely for their patience in answering our many quastions. Most of all, the staff at this winery makes visitors feel welcome and relaxed. The magnificent quality of the wines, the beauty of the natural setting, and the splendid architectural complex make a visit to this winery an absolute must for any serious follower of wine.

OUR CHOICES

St. Francis wines are very fine to superb, a real testimonial to the hard work, artistry and commitment to excellence on the part of Winemaster and Director of Winemaking Thomas Mackey and his able staff. Following is a listing of the wines we tasted together with our ratings for them.

Cabernet-Franc, Lagomarsino Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2000 95
Cabernet-Franc, Lagomarsino Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2002 92
Cabernet-Franc, McCoy Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 1999 92
Cabernet-Franc, McCoy Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2000 91
Cabernet-Franc, McCoy Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2001 91
Cabernet-Franc, McCoy Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2002 92
Cabernet-Franc, McCoy Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2003 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Sonoma County, 2000 88
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Sonoma County, 2002 89
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 1999 91
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2000 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2001 91
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2002 93
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2003 92
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Kings Ridge Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 1998 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Kings Ridge Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2000 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Kings Ridge Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2001 93
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Wild Oak, Sonoma County, Reserve, 2003 91
Cabernet-Sauvignon, Sonoma County, Reserve, 2000 90
Chardonnay, 2001 86
Chardonnay, 2002 87
Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma, 2005 90
Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2000 90
Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2001 91
Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2002 91
Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2003 89
Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2004 90
Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2005 90
Chardonnay, Sonoma County, 2002 87
Chardonnay, Sonoma County, 2004 89
Chardonnay, Sonoma County, 2006 88
Chardonnay, Yamakawa Vineyard, Sonoma County, 2004 89
Claret, Sonoma County, 2001 88
Grenache, Sceales Vineyard, Alexander Valley 2004 91
Meritage "Anthem", Sonoma Valley, 2000 91
Meritage "Anthem", Sonoma Valley, 2001 91
Meritage "Anthem", Sonoma Valley, 2002 91
Meritage "Anthem", Sonoma Valley, 2003 94
Merlot, Sonoma Valley, Reserve, 1994 94
Merlot, Sonoma County, 2000 89
Merlot, Sonoma County, 2002 90
Merlot, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 1999 90
Merlot, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, Reserve, 2000 92
Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 1999 90
Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2000 93
Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2001 91
Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2003 92
Mourvedre Pagani Vineyard, Sonoma, 2001 89
Petite Sirah Zichichi Vineyard, Dry Creek 2002 91
Petite Sirah Zichichi Vineyard, Dry Creek 2003 92
Petite Sirah Zichichi Vineyard, Dry Creek 2004 92
Pinot Noir Leras family, Russian River, 2002 89
Port Nuns Canyon & Pagani Vineyard 2002 89
Port Sonoma County, 2004 92
Red Wine, Rockpile Vineyard, Sonoma 2001 89
Red Wine, Rockpile Vineyard, Sonoma 2002 90
Red Wine, Rockpile Vineyard, Sonoma Reserve, 2001 91
Rose Sonoma County 2005 87
Rose Sonoma County 2006 88
Syrah, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, 2001 92
Syrah, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, 2002 91
Syrah, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma, 2003 90
Syrah, Sonoma County, 2003 90
Syrah, Wild Oak, Sonoma County, 2004 91
Zinfandel Sonoma 1999 90
Zinfandel Sonoma 2000 90
Zinfandel Sonoma 2001 89
Zinfandel Sonoma County, Old Vines 2002 91
Zinfandel Bacchi Vineyard, Sonoma 2002 92
Zinfandel Bacchi Vineyard, Russian River Valley 2002 92
Zinfandel Bacchi Vineyard, Russian River Valley 2004 90
Zinfandel Rowe Vineyard, Old Vines 2001 91
Zinfandel Pagani Vineyards Reserve 2001 92
Zinfandel Pagani Vineyards Reserve 2002 90
Zinfandel Pagani Vineyards Reserve 2002 91
Zinfandel Pagani Vineyards Reserve 2004 90

OUR CHOICES

To mention one favorite among the great red premium and reserve wines of this vineyard would be unfair to the others. Cabernet Franc, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah and Zinfandel, all excel in their own particular ways. While the 2000 Merlot from the Behler Vineyard and the 2000 Cabernet-Franc from the Lagomarsino Vineyard are perhaps the most interesting among them, all the ratings speak for themselves.

We are absolutely enchanted by the 2000 Lagomarsino Cabernet-Franc. This wine, being a very limited production, was not distributed, and is therefore only available at the winery.


  • Our choice for "best value for money", among this great selection of wines, is Nuns Canyon Vineyard Syrah of 2001, which is priced at $35 and we rated 92.

St Francis also offers at $22.00 Merlot and Cabernet-Sauvignon wines from Sonoma County which, year after year, continue to receive multiple awards. We have rated the recent releases 90 for the Cabernet-Sauvignon and 89 for the Merlot, and that has been fairly consistent through the years. Both are highly recommended.

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The dynamic duo of the food and wine pairing at St. Francis:
Wine Expert Vanessa Lynch-Thompson, and Chef Kirsten Dearing.

RETROSPECTIVE

This year we tasted a wide range of wines, both white and red, Chardonnay, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot and quite a few others. All the wines were excellent, and we rated them in the very upper 80's and 90's.

  • Our preference for a white wine goes to the 2001 Chardonnay, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Valley. It is priced at $22 per bottle, and received our rating of 90.
  • Our choice of the best red wine tasted was the 1999 Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, which is priced at $45 and we rated 97. This is a wonderful wine of great depth and complexity, flavors of chocolate, wild cherry and plum, with strong structure and long finish.
  • A second choice was the 2000 Zinfandel, Rowe Vineyard, Sonoma Valley. It is priced at $30 with our rating of 95. This wonderful wine is only available at the vineyard.
  • Our "Best value for money" choice goes to the Chardonnay of 2001, Sonoma County, which is priced at $13 and which received our rating of 88.

There is a 10% discount for purchases of 12 or more bottles.

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RETROSPECTIVE.

The previous year our choice for best St. Francis wine was the 1997 Merlot, Nuns Canyon Vineyard, Sonoma County. It was priced at $48.

In the range of $20 to $22 St. Francis consistently offered excellent value. Here are our ratings for five consecutive years of their Merlot, Sonoma County appelation.

Merlot Sonoma County 1996 91
Merlot Sonoma County 1997 93
Merlot Sonoma County 1998 89
Merlot Sonoma County 1999 92
Merlot Sonoma County 2000 89
Merlot Sonoma County 2001 90
Merlot Sonoma County 2002 90

The Zinfandel wines sampled at St. Francis are included in the extensive Zinfandel listing in this web site, in the section "Wine Listings / California - Zinfandel".


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A WORD ABOUT ST. FRANCIS PATRONS WINE CLUB.

St. Francis also has a wine club. The Patrons Wine Club offers to its members a number of privileges, including reserve tastings with fantastic food pairings, some discounts and wines by mail. We have joined and are very happy with the selections received in the mail this year. We recommend this wine club without reservations. George Marek, Manager of the Patrons Wine Club, will be pleased to give further details; you can contact him at wineclub@stfranciswine.com.

For information, please visit

www.stfranciswine.com.

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