St. Francis Winery in Sonoma – a food and wine experience

St. Francis Winery in Sonoma - a food and wine experience

St. Francis Winery in Sonoma – a food and wine experience

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 statue at the winery entry

St. Francis statue at the winery entry

 

St. Francis greets you at the entry garden to the winery

 

Lavendar with St. Francis tasting room

Lavendar with St. Francis tasting room

 

 

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.

Flower gardens at St. Francis winery

Flower gardens at St. Francis winery

The gardens are in full bloom and are fun to explore

 

Shades of blue at St. Francisco winery

Shades of blue at St. Francisco winery

Dining Experience

 

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.

 

The dining pavilion at St. Francis winery

The dining pavilion at St. Francis winery

 

 

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!

 

First course - a delightful start at St. Francis winery

First course – a delightful start at St. Francis winery

 

 

A delicious red wine Sonoma Cuvee is being poured next

 

Wine pairing at the St. Francis winery

Wine pairing at the St. Francis winery

 

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.

 

Melt in your mouth halibut with ratatouille at St. Francis winery

Melt in your mouth halibut with ratatouille at St. Francis winery

 

 

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.

 

Petit Sirah paired with stuffed chicken

Petit Sirah paired with stuffed chicken

 

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.

 

 

A perfect combination New York strip and a glass of Sirah

A perfect combination New York strip and a glass of Sirah

 

 

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.

 

 

Dessert sampler with old vine zinfandel

Dessert sampler with old vine zinfandel

More photo highlights:

Grapes on the vine at St. Francis winery

Grapes on the vine at St. Francis winery

Farm to table – herb and vegetable garden

 

Farm to table fresh at St. Francis winery

Farm to table fresh at St. Francis winery

Who can resist sunflowers in bloom

 

Sunflowers at St. Francis winery

Sunflowers at St. Francis winery

 

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.
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11 Responses to St. Francis Winery in Sonoma – a food and wine experience

  1. Derek Freal August 22, 2014 at 8:29 am #

    I’m no connoisseur but I definitely enjoy good wine and fancy food. Looks like you found plenty of both — especially that last pairing, which sounds amazing — and in one of my favorite places in the States. Gorgeous there, isn’t it? 🙂

  2. Dale August 22, 2014 at 3:32 am #

    Those figs at the end there look delicious.

    Is it just me, or are you stopping by lots of vineyards recently 😛

  3. Paul (@luxury__travel) August 21, 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Wow, that’s a lot of wine glasses laid out on the table! The dinner and tasting looks like it was a great experience… and in a world renowned wine region to boot. Can’t be bad. 🙂

  4. Kathryn August 21, 2014 at 9:32 am #

    What a wonderful way to spend the day and in such a lovely setting. I have to say more than just a little jealous.

  5. alison August 21, 2014 at 5:49 am #

    I find the ‘science’ behind wine and food pairings fascinating and loved the descriptions you offered with each tasting. St. Francis Winery certainly is a beautiful place to explore and enjoy this concept. Yum.

  6. Muza-chan August 20, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

    Delicious…

  7. Rachel@safari254 August 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    A beautiful wine country, lovely landscape, sophisticated wine and food …. looks like a perfect place.

  8. Jackie De Burca August 20, 2014 at 9:05 pm #

    The dishes look sublime, the surroundings heavenly and of course the delicate pairing of the wines with the dishes seems absolutely perfect. I love their choice of saint as well, patron saint of animals and the environment. I’m also not surprised that you arrived half an hour early to a place like that 🙂

  9. Anda @ Travel Notes & Beyond August 20, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

    Wow! I am drooling all over my keyboard now, Noel! Looks delicious.

  10. Anna parker August 20, 2014 at 9:00 am #

    What a pretty winery – I’d love to visit Sonoma, we love wine tasting tours and staying on vineyards!!

    Next year… Really I hope so – my cousin and her family just opened a wine bar in Sacramento – we are due to visit!!

  11. Jenna August 20, 2014 at 7:41 am #

    Oh my, this looks like a heavenly day. What beautiful grounds the winery has! And that food and wine looks and sounds perfect.

I look forward to hearing from you and continuing our discussion with any comment you would like to add