Monday, May 30, 2011

St. Francis 2006 Merlot Sonoma County

St. Francis Winery and Vineyards was the first Sonoma County winery to plant and produce Merlot and has championed the grape since their first vintage in 1983.

Although we missed the Merlot Day virtual tasting on May 19, we did have the opportunity to sample a bottle of 2006 St. Francis Merlot, Sonoma County

The grapes come from both mountain and valley vineyards in Sonoma. They were fermented in steel tanks and then aged in French and American oak for 22 months. We didn’t have the ideal pairing for our meal. We had lobster tail and shrimp and so we enjoyed some Soave with the meal. Ace of Bass, who was joining us, is more of a red drinker and went directly to the Merlot.

The wine has a super smooth front end with plenty of cherry and a dash of spice and vanilla. This is a solid but not heavy wine. I wanted more of a finish. The tannins seemed sufficient for a satisfying front and middle, but stumbled on the home stretch.

It’s time to respect the Merlot. Often it is bypassed in favor of a sturdy Cabernet or a delicate Pinot Noir. This is a noble grape! Done well, Merlot gives the palate a luscious and satisfying ride. This is a quality wine that represents a good value. It goes for about $20, but can be found on sale for less.

Full disclosure: We received this wine as a sample.

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