In 1971 Joe Martin and his wife Emma began a new life as wine makers in Sonoma, leaving behind the business world of San Francisco. They named their vineyard after St. Francis of Assisi for he was a great protector of nature.
If you have ever been to the city of Assisi in Italy you know that this is true, the saint's presence is still very palpable there. Centuries later the birds he loved so and nature still abound.
A respect and love of nature is also very present in this Zinfandel that we sipped and guzzled with some great bbq and pizza and live blues at Ruthie's in Montclair.
Called Old Vines Zinfandel, Sonoma County, it is a very rich wine with flavors of solid ripe black cherry fruit, vanilla bean and pepper spice that fills the mother in layers and rolls into a long lush finish.
The grapes are from fertile Russian River Valley and Dry Creek Valley vineyards. They are between 60 and 100 years old and grown to produce low yields which means concentrated, intense flavors. It is beautifully crafted by wine maker Katie Madigan.
While this wine is deep the complexity and delicate layers of flavor make it great with food. It went surprisingly well with a Ruthie's special Fontina Pizza with Pancetta, Fennel and Asiago, a dish I would usually pair with a white wine. Also the chopped salad with feta cheese, chick peas, cucumbers, red wine Vinaigrette. And of course the bbq 1/2 Chicken. BBQ is always good with Zinfandel.
Live blues with the throaty deep melodies of Christine Santelli made the evening complete. Ruthie's hosts some really great blues acts under the stars every friday and saturday night during the summer.
See more on St. Francis Old Vine Zinfandel and Katie Madigan here: