I've been meaning to try a bottle of "Red" because I've often enjoyed other offerings from St. Francis Winery. My Uncle Marc, who is the person most responsible for my appreciation of wine, first turned me on to St. Francis several years ago. Most of the St. Francis wines I've tasted have been very good, and the bottle of Anthem that I tried was simply sublime (it was the type of wine you'd stick a shiv in your neighbor's back for...seriously, it was that good. And frankly, I don't care about my neighbor all that much either). A few years ago I had the opportunity to visit the winery on a visit to Sonoma and it was spectacular. Needless to say my hopes were high when I first spotted this wine staring at me from it's perch atop a shelf at Trader Joe's, especially since most of their wines go for considerably more coin ($20-$50+) than this $10 bottle.
I was taken with this wine before I even opened the bottle. The label could only be described as "fun" with the word "RED" emblazoned on a gold background of red splotches (there are several different labels but they all play on the same general theme). It was a severe change from the more staid labels that St Francis typically employs. The bottle informed me that I would be imbibing a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Zinfandel. Already I was excited...Cabernet Sauvignon is my favorite grape (Zinfandel's pretty high on he list too) and I am developing an appreciation for Cabernet Franc. I was dizzy with excitement before had even poured the first glass.
The Cultured lost out to The Hooligan and I could wait no longer. Out came the synthetic cork and in it went into my glass. I was immediately taken by it's garnet hue, very much in the middle of the wine spectrum. Initial sniffs detect aromas of green pepper and healthy amount of spice (is the pepper from the Cab Franc?). I kept thinking "oh please let this wine taste good." After a long day chauffering my grandmother I didn't just want this wine to taste good, I needed this wine to taste good.
And we had...success! The wine was a bit dry on the palate, with a bit of an acidic finish. It definitely had a substantial mouthfeel -- somewhere between medium and full-bodied. There was a good amount of fruit in the wine too, with blueberry being the dominant flavor. Also present was some green pepper, violet and I swear I tasted chicory. Or was that licorice?
This wine simply does not have the refinement of St. Francis' stable of very good wines but Red clearly shows its pedigree. This would be very good with Italian dishes (pasta bolognese, sausage pizza, etc.) or beef (though perhaps not steak). This is definitely a wine I will buy again.