Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Valley (2014)
Richly colored and deeply aromatic, this Merlot over delivers with an abundance of dark-red fruit flavors and aromas of baked cherry galette, pomegranate, currant and mocha. Silky smooth and elegant with a long and lingering finish.
Our founder Joe Martin was the first grower to plant Merlot in Sonoma Valley when he came to this area in the 1970s. This picturesque valley is surrounded by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, providing perfect conditions for Merlot grapes. The Behler Vineyard, our first Estate Vineyard, is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley where warm summer days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in fruit with deep, complex flavors and aromas.
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.
The grapes are hand-sorted and undergo a two-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. After primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is placed into French oak barrels where it undergoes malolactic fermentation and 20 months of aging in 40% new oak.
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SAUTÉED DUCK BREAST WITH OLIVE & CAPER SAUCE
• 4 duck breasts
• ¼ cup Niçoise olives, pitted and lightly chopped
• ¼ cup capers, drained, rinsed and chopped
• 2 garlic cloves, minced
• 2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh thyme, chopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh sage, chopped
• 1 teaspoon fresh parsley, chopped
• ¼ teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
• ½ cup sherry
• 1 cup chicken stock
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cold
• 1 tablespoon canola oil
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Trim excess fat from duck breast and score skin by lightly cutting a crisscross pattern without cutting through flesh.
Heat canola oil in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Place duck breast skin side down in hot pan and cook for 5 minutes or until skin side has nicely browned. Turn breast over and transfer pan to oven, cook through, for about 10 minutes. Cook breast to an internal temperature of 130°F, remove from pan and let rest for 5 minutes.
Pour off excess fat from pan, leaving about a tablespoon remaining. Add shallots and garlic to pan and cook until slightly golden. Add olives, capers, herbs and stir to combine. Turn heat to high, add sherry and reduce by ¾. Add chicken stock and reduce by half or until slightly thickened. Add butter and whisk to combine.
Slice each duck breast and spoon sauce over and serve.
Recipe created by St. Francis Executive Chef Bryan Jones