White Wine, Estate Cuvée Blanc, Sonoma Valley (2016)
This light, bright Rhone-style wine entices with an abundance of flavors and aromas from the fragrant and expressive varietals that go into this blend. On the nose notes of peach, orange blossom, and toasted almond are followed by lingering flavors of white nectarine, poached apricots and tangerine zest. Soft and silky but with a touch of minerality for a crisp, fresh finish.
Each of the grape varieties for this classic Rhone-inspired blend come from our Certified Sustainable Wild Oak Estate Vineyard planted at the base of Sugarloaf Ridge and Hood Mountain in Sonoma Valley. The rock and gravel that have washed down over the centuries provide ideal soil conditions for small yields of concentrated fruit. Sonoma Valley’s cool evenings and warm afternoons allow the fruit to develop intense flavors and aromas, while maintaining high acidity.
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.
Naturally flavorful off the vine, the grapes for this cuvée (French for blend) are picked in the early morning hours to retain their delicate flavors and aromas and sent immediately to press. The Marsanne goes into a tank by itself while the Roussanne and Viognier are co-fermented. After a slow, cool fermentation in temperature-controlled tanks, the wines are aged in neutral French oak barrels for seven months before bottling.
YELLOW WATERMELON GAZPACHO
• 1 yellow tomato (8 ounces), peeled and chopped
• 1/3 English cucumber (3 ounces), peeled and roughly chopped
• 16 ounces yellow watermelon, roughly chopped
• 1 yellow bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed and roughly chopped
• ½ shallot, roughly chopped
• 2 small cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
• ½ tablespoon yuzu juice or lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon white miso
• 2 sprigs cilantro
• 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Salt to taste
Combine all the ingredients, except olive oil, in a blender. Turn the blender on high speed and purée while drizzling in the olive oil to emulsify. Serve in bowls and garnish with cilantro and olive oil.
Recipe created by St. Francis Executive Chef Bryan Jones