Port, Sonoma County (2012)
This Port is a wonderful dessert wine, served alone or paired with cheese, nuts and chocolate. The flavors and aromas are rich and decadent with layers of toasted nuts, burnt caramel, fig, toffee and a touch of dark chocolate. Silky smooth with a velvety texture, this special wine can be cellared or enjoyed now.
To make great Port, a winemaker must respect its origin: Portugal. St. Francis does this by choosing a mix of varietals from high quality blocks in our Estate Wild Oak Vineyard in Sonoma Valley as well as carefully chosen vineyards from top Sonoma County appellations. We push the hang-time to 27 or 28 brix resulting in very full-flavored and sweet fruit. All of the varietals are placed in one small tank in our Artisan winery. We inoculate with yeast immediately and let the fermentation begin. During this time our crew stays on-call 24 hours a day, checking brix every hour until it hits the designated target. When fermentation is at the right level, we add 120-proof brandy distilled from our own wine to stop fermentation. The Port is then immediately put into neutral French oak barrels for aging.
With ideal weather and an abundance of exceptional fruit, it’s no secret the 2012 harvest was outstanding. Warm, moderate temperatures throughout the growing season allowed our fruit to reach the perfect state of ripeness without sacrificing balance and intensity. With no heat spikes, cold weather or rain, the fruit ripened evenly and developed great color and concentrations, producing wines with rich flavors and excellent structure.
GRILLED CHOCOLATE-NUTELLA POUND CAKE SANDWICHES WITH BLACK CHERRY ICE CREAM
• 1 store bought pound cake or your favorite recipe
• ½ cup finely chopped semisweet chocolate
• ¼ cup Nutella
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 1 pint of cherry ice cream
Slice pound cake crosswise into eight 1-inch thick pieces. Divide chocolate into 4 equal portions and mound on 4 of the slices. Spread Nutella over the other 4 slices of pound cake and form a sandwich. Press to seal.
Melt butter in a large non-stick sauté pan over medium heat and cook until starting to brown. Place sandwiches in pan and cook until golden brown. Flip over and repeat process.
Transfer to cutting board, let cool slightly and cut in half on the diagonal. Top with your favorite cherry ice cream, sprinkle with powdered sugar and enjoy.
Recipe created by St. Francis Executive Chef Bryan Jones