Meritage, Anthem, Sonoma County (2014)
This rich and compelling blend shows off deep color and layered aromas of dark chocolate, ripe strawberry, cherry cola and a hint of cassis. Balanced and full-bodied, the wine offers flavors of cherry compote, licorice and vanilla that merge with a lush mouthfeel and long finish.
For the 2014 vintage of this Meritage blend, Winemaker Chris Louton chose fruit from our Certified Sustainable Estate Vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon from our Lagomarsino Vineyard in Russian River Valley and Malbec from our Behler Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. To add complexity, a small percentage of Petit Verdot from the Rockpile region north of Healdsburg was also included.
Warm sunny days throughout the spring and summer months set the stage for a spectacular harvest in September 2014. The lack of rain meant that harvest began a little earlier than normal and was short in length, finishing up by the end of October. The temperate days leading up to harvest produced good yields of high quality fruit with concentrated flavors, complex aromatics and excellent structure.
Meritage wines are luxurious wines crafted solely from specific noble Bordeaux grape varietals. The name combines “merit,” reflecting the quality of the grapes, with “heritage,” recognizing the centuries-old tradition of blending, long considered the highest form of the winemaker’s art.
All grapes are gently de-stemmed before cold-soaking for two days to extract optimal color and aroma. The fruit is fermented in separate lots, allowing each to be individually and distinctly crafted before being aged in French oak barrels. The wines are kept 20 months in barrel, before final blending and bottling.
The Wine Advocate
BRAISED OXTAIL WITH BUTTER BEANS
• 3 medium white onions, coarsely chopped
• 8 cloves garlic, peeled
• 3 scallions, coarsely chopped
• 1 Scotch bonnet chili (aka Caribbean red pepper), destemmed and seeded
• 3 tablespoons soy sauce
• 3 pounds oxtails
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 8 ounces pearl onions
• 2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch slices
• 1 (15 oz.) can butter beans
Preheat oven to 325° F.
In a food processor, combine onions, garlic, scallions and chili, process until smooth. Scrape the marinade into a large bowl and stir in soy sauce. Add oxtails to the marinade and toss to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
In a large oven safe saucepan, heat vegetable oil over medium-high. Remove the oxtails from the bowl and wipe away any excess marinade. In batches season the oxtails with salt and pepper and add to the pan. Cook until browned, turning once (about 12 minutes). Transfer the oxtails to a plate.
Scrape the remaining marinade into the saucepan and cook on medium-high heat until softened and caramelized, stirring occasionally (about 8 minutes). Return oxtails to the pan, add 4 cups water and bring to a boil. Place pan in oven and cook for approximately 3-3½ hours until oxtails are very tender. Remove pan from oven and place over low heat on the stove-top.
Stir in pearl onions and carrots. Cook until tender, stirring occasionally (about 15 minutes). Then stir in the butter beans and cook (for 2 minutes). Remove the pan from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before serving.
Recipe created by St. Francis Executive Chef Bryan Jones