French Laundry is a term I hear often around these Napa Valley parts.
I don’t know what it means.
I do know it has nothing to do with laundry. I also know us mere mortals should save-up for a visit.
But sometimes us mere mortals have other adventures to save for. Like a trip to London, Rome, or Disneyland.
That’s where St. Francis in Sonoma comes in. Thanks to an inside source who had enough patience to listen to a pompous man (her words not mine), this place has been brought to my attention.
According to this pompous man, St. Francis is just as good as French Laundry. But it’s a pairing you don’t have to break the cute, little, pink, piggy bank for.
As usual, I did not research the cost of French Laundry. Instead I will take everyone’s word for it and relay the message to you. I’ve heard it is delicious and worth every penny.
Now back to St. Francis.
The food pairing is designed to complement the wine. Not the other way around.
Featuring wines from winemaker Katie Madigan, the little Spice Girl influence in me couldn’t help but think “Girl Power” with every sip.
Each of Katie’s wines are delicate with a unique expression.
For the record, I feel extremely douchey for even typing the above sentence. I’m not a wine professional. I’m barely even a wine writer.
15 year-old alternative me would be extremely disappointed in adult me. With Papa Roach playing in the background and her overly done black eyeliner, she would be scoffing right now.
However, the statement about Katie’s wine is honest and true. Katie, good job girl. You definitely “spiced up my life”.
The plate for each wine was equally satisfying.
The first pairing was a Chardonnay with hummus and falafel.
For years I’ve been saying ,“I love chardonnay”.
Fun fact: I don’t.
I didn’t realize this about myself until last year. I went to an industry tasting. Every winery had a Chardonnay. And every Chardonnay I tasted, I thought, “eh”.
I have a more mature palate now, because I’ve tried many different wines. And I prefer Not Chardonnay for my white of choice.
With that said, I like Katie’s Chardonnay. I know I just put you through an emotional roller coaster of back and forth, contradicting statements, but Katie’s Chard is legit. I highly recommend it.
Here’s a picture of Chef Jone’s falafel first course.
Second Wine was a Zinfandel paired with salmon.
I hate fish. This includes salmon.
Fun fact: I still hate fish and salmon.
But I will give kudos where kudos is due, because the texture of the salmon was impeccable (I feel like that’s a good descriptive word for wine and food). I’m big on texture, and that’s a main reason why I hate fish. But Chef Jones managed to cook the salmon in a way where the texture didn’t bother me.
With that said. It was still fish. So by default, not my favorite dish. But well done.
The Zinfandel was equally exquisite (I’m going to run out of swanky descriptive words very soon here).
I have a confession to make. I am new to this review thing. I took pictures of the wine in the wine glass next to the food.
I did not take pictures of the wine label or the menu.
I had every intention of taking the paper menu with me. But after five glasses of generously poured wine, the thought completely slipped my mind by the end of the pairing.
Because of this, I do not have specific notes on the exact wines we were drinking. Which is where this review starts to get a little more general.
Here is a picture of the third wine and dish. (General description = “third wine”.)
I tried to change things up and moved the wine glass to the center of the plate.
A new artistic angle.
The dish is Chef Jones’ braised pork. Every bite was amazing. I don’t want to discredit the wine in any way, because I did not write down what it was or steal the menu. But, it too was amazing.
Fourth dish was a lamb slider (notice the placement of the wine glass).
The polenta fries in truffle oil are beyond descriptive words. I just feel bad you weren’t there to try it with me.
The fifth and final wine and dish pairing was dessert.
Arguably the best of all daily meals.
The wine here was a 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. (Got that one through a little digging of my non-existent notes).
Normally people go with Ports for dessert. Chef Jones decided that was blasé. So he picked a softer Cab and paired it with a pistachio cake, with strawberry glaze, and freshly ground pepper.
Pepper on dessert is rebellious.
And I liked that bad boy ‘tude Chef Jones brought to this dish.
Please note the fork next to the wine glass in this picture.
Overall, the St. Francis wine and food pairing was satisfying, delectable, and fun (SDF)!
Now it’s your turn to book your wine and food pairing with St. Francis Winery.