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by Fred McMillin
for February 4, 1997

From Assisi to Sonoma

St. Francis, the Friar: In the town of Assisi north of Rome, Francis rejected the wealth of his family, became a friar and in 1223 formally established the Franciscan Order of the Roman Catholic Church. Initially, the friars were forbidden to "plant vineyards, nor have any." But, the prohibition of wine disappeared and some five centuries Later his Franciscan missionaries planted the first wine vines in California.

St. Francis, the Winery: Christened after St. Francis of Assisi, the Sonoma Valley winery opened for business in 1979. Founder Joe Martin's expertise was in growing grapes, so in 1983 he found a winemaker, Tom Mackey, who liked Joe's low-volume, high-quality approach. Two years later Tom made their first Cabernet Sauvignon. He's now released his tenth vintage, the '94, and it is a potent mouthful... lots of black cherry and lots of oak.. a robust companion for my James Beard marinated flank steak. Best of all, would you believe this price? $11!

1994 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon St. Francis Winery Kenwood, Sonorna Valley, CA phone (707) 833-4666 $11

Category: Highly Recommended In Its Price Range


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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