This ripe, lush, direct Chardonnay is a classic Sonoma expression of the grape, with overt tropical fruit and apple flavors, rich toasty oak notes and a crisp, supple finish.
Our best of tasting was clear - a classy, well-made wine with plenty of fruit wound tightly, some austerity and terrific hints of earth and minerals. A repeat favorite.
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St. Francis Sonoma Chardonnay is styled to be a crisp, fresh expression of the varietal of classic Sonoma character. The clean, white fruit and melon aromas are offset by a discreet measure of new oak and vanilla which carry onto the palate. The fruit flavors are ripe, medium full-bodied and clean, supported by a fresh, lively acidity, moderate complexity and supple texture. The finish is succulent and persistent, repeating the well-balanced notes of tropical fruit and oak.
Wine maker notes
The fruit is brought to the winery, crushed, and the juice immediately pressed from the skins, and allowed to settle for two to three days at 40F. The must is racked from the lees into fresh stainless steel tanks and allowed to warm to 50F; the lees are filtered and returned to the racked must. The juice is then inoculated with yeast and yeast nutrient, and once fermentation is underway, 40 percent of the lot is transferred to new French and American oak barrels, where the fermentation is completed at a temperature of 60 to 65F after one to two weeks. The 60 percent of the blend remaining in stainless steel completes fermentation at a temperature of 50 to 55F over a period of three to four weeks. At this point, the barrel-fermented lots are transferred to tank, the barrels cleaned, and the wine returned to barrel with a slight addition of sulphur dioxide. Over the six months the wine remains in barrel, the fine lees are stirred and the barrels topped roughly once every three weeks. Up to between ten and 15 percent of the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation. The barrel lots are then blended with those in stainless steel and chilled, fined, filtered and bottled.
For more than four decades, the wines of St. Francis Winery & Vineyards have reflected the finest mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma County. Our 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 with his business partner Lloyd Canton.
Our first winemaker, Tom Mackey, joined St. Francis in 1983 and was renowned for elevating both the quality and style of Sonoma Merlot as an ultra-premium, stand-alone varietal. He also cultivated an in-depth understanding of every Sonoma appellation, enabling us to acquire and develop new vineyards and expand our wine portfolio.
In 1988 St. Francis partnered with the Kopf family, long admired for their historic family legacy in the wine and spirits industry and their commitment to quality. That legacy began in 1933 upon the repeal of prohibition when Rudy Kopf founded the wine and spirits department of Macy’s Department Store in New York, turning it into what was then one of the finest wine and spirits retailers in the country. He later established his own wine and spirits company, now owned by his three daughters.
Today, a new generation of winemakers, Katie Madigan and Chris Louton, continues our long tradition of luscious, elegant, fruit-driven wines from Sonoma County grapes. We farm more than 400 acres of Certified Sustainable estate vineyards in Sonoma Valley and Russian River Valley, each with varying compositions of loam, clay and volcanic soils. We 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.