2016 St. Francis Reserve Cabernet
100% Cabernet - Alexander Valley
91 Points • The Wine Advocate • December 2019
92 Points • James Suckling • December 2019
90 Points • Wine Spectator • October 2019
For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. The founder, Joe Martin, fell in love with Sonoma Valley and established St. Francis Vineyard in 1971, planting 22 acres of Chardonnay and the first 60 acres of Merlot in Sonoma Valley. After achieving great success as a grower, Joe opened his own winery in 1979.
Today, a new generation of winemakers continue the long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes. They farm more than 380 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. They also nurture long-term relationships with top Sonoma County grape growers, giving the Winery access to some of the region's most coveted old vines Zinfandel and other varietals from acclaimed vineyards.
The fruit for Reserve Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is grown at high elevations on sloped hillsides with good drainage. Climbing as high as 1400 feet along the sun-drenched, western-facing slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, the fruit sits well above the fog line. Naturally protected from the wind, dry hot days combine with bracingly cold nights which puts an element of stress on the vines resulting in small clusters, small berries and intensified flavors. The grapes were hand-sorted and underwent a two-day cold soak prior to fermentation to extract optimal color and flavor. After primary fermentation, the wine was then aged in French oak barrels, 75% new, where it underwent malolactic fermentation, followed by 20 months of aging.
Harvest in 2016 started in the middle of August during a pattern of warm sunny days cooled by foggy mornings and breezy afternoons for most of the area. The early months of the year were very mild with little rain allowing the vines to progress steadily and uneventfully. Yields throughout the region were slightly below average but moderate weather starting in early summer gave the fruit plenty of time to develop great color and flavor, resulting in beautifully balanced wines.
Tasting Notes: A classic rich and full-bodied Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine delivers layered aromas of cassis, black tea leaf and baking spices highlighted with big, concentrated flavors of cassis, crushed dark berries, mocha beans and a hint of anise. The finish is vibrant with good structure and length. Excellent with blue cheese, wild mushrooms and ribeye steak. Decant 30 Minutes.