Winemaker Chris Louton and the team at St. Francis Winery & Vineyards are committed to producing wines with a distinct regional character where the terroir of Sonoma shines through.
For us unabashed wine geeks, wine is nothing short of a spiritual experience and Sonoma is one of the sacred places. Even if you've never made the pilgrimage to Sonoma, if you love the wine you're a member of the tribe. Named after the patron saint of animals, ecology, and merchants; St. Francis Winery & Vineyards has been crafting wines from Sonoma County's best appellations for more than 30 years and is known for their fruit-forward and food-friendly wines.
A statue of St. Francis of Assisi greets winery guests at the Visitors Center.
I recently had the pleasure of sharing a few St. Francis wines with winemaker Chris Louton. A native Californian, Chris became enamored of wine in college and left behind his pursuit of veterinary medicine to enroll in the prestigious viticulture and enology program at the University of California, Davis. Chris has been at St. Francis since 2013 (he was previously at Beringer Vineyards in Napa) and shares winemaking duties with Katie Madigan. Chris calls their division of labor "divide & conquer" - he focuses on the Bordeaux varietals and Katie's responsibilities include the production of Zinfandel and Chardonnay.
St. Francis Winery welcomes visitors for tours and tastings. Their restaurant has been selected as one of the 100 Best Restaurants in America by OpenTable diners.
St. Francis is a regional leader in green practices and in 2013 they were officially certified as a Sustainable Vineyard and Winery -- their namesake would surely be proud. My guided tasting with Chris was my first experience with St. Francis wines and I was impressed by their easy elegance - beautifully crafted but unpretentious.
St. Francis Winery Sonoma County Chardonnay 2014 ($16.99)
Vibrant and pretty with flavors of fresh apple and pear that are revved up by hints of pineapple and vanilla cream.
St. Francis Winery Reserve Merlot Sonoma Valley 2014 ($39.99)
Stop ignoring Merlot, it can't be beat when you're craving a juicy and luscious wine. This classic beauty is elegant with flavors of succulent plum and hints of chocolate.
St. Francis Winery Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2014 ($39.99)
Delicious proof that a California Cabernet can be powerful without being obnoxious, this sophisticated sip has classic flavors of black currant and blackberry with a savory touch of spice and cedar.
St. Francis Winery Reserve Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2014 ($39.99)
Crafted from vines 50-100 years old, this is an excellent expression of old vine Zinfandel. Velvety, juicy, and spicy with lingering flavors of black cherries and spice.