St. Francis Winery in Sonoma- a food and wine experience
The St. Francis winery food and wine pairing is truly an exceptional tasting experience and now I know why there are so many positive reviews and top ratings from sites including Trip Advisor, Yelp and they even win the best restaurant award from diners at Open Table. Who can’t resist a stunning location along the famous Valley of the Moon on Highway 12, St. Francis winery sits in a stunning location with magnificent views of their vineyards with Sugar loaf ridge in the background. Winery Chef Byron James pulls out all the magic in pairing of Artisan wines offered at the estate with a truly farm to table approach of local purveyors and growers from local Sonoma County sources.
St. Francis greets you at the entry garden to the winery
Arriving a half hour early to the winery, we are greeted with a gorgeous summer garden in full bloom – heavenly scented roses, French lavender and various flowering herbs and perennials bursting with color and adding to the sensory experience. The gardens bordering the vineyards and framing Sugarloaf ridge and Hood mountain offered instant color. I fall into instant relax-mode while absorbing the wine country lifestyle we all enjoy while tasting our first glass of wine at the winery. We start off our tasting with a 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from the Uboldi vineyard close-by in Sonoma Valley, it was a perfect start with a light and refreshing white wine exuding floral scents and stone fruit flavors of the vineyard – I was enjoying this first taste while sitting outdoors and enjoying the expansive vineyard views.
The gardens are in full bloom and are fun to explore
We enter the beautifully renovated dining room with Tuscany colored tile floors and walls, huge French doors opened to panoramic vineyard and hillside views and an interesting round table concept and fully set with too many glasses to count for each service. The menu changes seasonally with an array of locally purveyed food items and other delicacies. Matching the food directly to the wines offered in the tasting truly offers a different experience to restaurants that do the reverse of food and then match to wines. Our chef is going to serve us some exceptional dishes for lunch today, take a look at some of these amazing dishes below.
We all find seats casually and start with our next wine, a 2012 Chardonnay, Wild Oak Vineyard from Sonoma Valley. It’s crisp and medium body with hints of vanilla, oak and butter overtones. The dish offered with the wine is layered with picked peach and Burrata cheese with baby mizuna, spring red onions, toast almonds and fennel pollen. It’s a delicious start, refreshing and tangy bites mixed perfectly with sips of the Wild Oak Chardonnay – I’m so happy at this point!
A delicious red wine Sonoma Cuvee is being poured next
Next, they pour a glass of 2011 Red Wine Sonoma Cuvee from Sonoma County. A blend of different grapes including Malbec, Cabernet franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, its bold with a smooth finish with hints of bell pepper and berry aromas.
This is surprisingly paired with a zucchini wrapped local halibut on a bed of ratatouille stuffed piquillo peppers, chorizo rouille and a nice swirl of black garlic and almond gremolata and basil oil. It’s a truly sublime taste and a nice and delicious surprise for a red wine matched to the halibut.
The next round of wine being poured is quickly presented as a 2011 Petite Sirah from Dry Creek Valley. It’s filled with bold, smoky and berry flavors. The notes offer ‘hints of acacia flowers mixed in with blue berry and black berry characteristics on this three-year and already complex wine made of 90% petit syrah and 10 % syrah.’
Along with the wine, we get served a hefty chanterelle stuffed Mary’s chicken roulade with corn and fennel farro and salsa verde. along with grilled little gem lettuce and crispy prosciutto – it’s another winning combination of food texture and flavors.
Next, the server quickly pours a glass of 2011 Syrah, Patrons estate from the Wild Oak vineyard in Sonoma Valley. It is also bold and smoky medium body with stone fruit flavors. The notes show this grown right on the estate vineyard tasting room and is a classic Rhone style Syrah with ‘aromas of melted chocolate, smoked bacon and caramel. Flavors of vanilla, blueberry and ground pepper lead to a long, lingering finish.’
The wine is paired with tender seared New York strip loin with smoked twice backed potato, black garlic glaze, spinach puree and crispy leeks. It’s melt in your mouth perfect strip loin and totally delicious – another winning combination.
To finish off our wine taste, we are poured a 2012 Old vine zinfandel which is luscious and intense. The zins come from old vines in the Dry Creek, Russian River, Sonoma Valley and Alexander valley appellations and the notes include ‘classic old vine Zinfandel that pays tribute to its heritage with great structure,concentrated flavor and a long, luscious finish. Aromas of blackberry jam, clove, nutmeg and salted caramel are followed by flavors of juicy wild berries, vanilla bean and a touch of freshly ground pepper.’
The last dish presented is bruleed figs with honey crème anglaise, a pistachio brittle and fig mascarpone stuffed feuille de brick. I’m in pure bliss with this last dish and wine taste – it’s such a perfect ending to this amazing food and wine experience.
More photo highlights:
Farm to table – herb and vegetable garden
Who can resist sunflowers in bloom
The food and wine pairing takes about two hours with a guide, but do come early and leave some extra time to enjoy the gardens afterwards or visit the tasting room and store. I would recommend making a reservation in advanced for the seated pairings, which are held three times per day on Fridays through Sundays, and twice per day on Mondays and Thursdays. There is a an expert guided talk through each course with highlights of each wine being offered during each taste. The experience is relaxed, friendly, and educational, showcasing the magnificence that Sonoma County has to offer. I was completely seduced with the luxe food and wine pairings that were offered at the St. Francis winery, such an amazing experience and worth the trip up to Sonoma County.
More Details if you go
$50, Club $40 – reservations required
Plan on arriving a half hour early to enjoy the gardens and a first tasting in the tasting room
Friday-Sunday, Three Seatings (11:00, 1:00 & 3:00)
Monday & Thursday, Two Seatings (11:00 & 2:00)
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday
To find out more about the wine and food pairing menu and other details to St. Francis winery, please visit their main website here.
I hope you enjoyed reading this food and wine pairing experience from the St. Francis winery, if so please do share it with any of the social media buttons located on this post. Thank you for hosting me St. Francis winery, all opinions and comments are my own and I had an incredible tasting experience.