The 2008 St. Francis Red Splash is a blend of 27% Merlot, 19% Petite Sirah, 17% Syrah, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Zinfandel and the other 14% made up of Cabernet Franc, Alicante Bouschet and mixed blacks (various red grapes, I don’t know why the accounting is so impercise). Some of the 2008 vintage labels say the grapes came from Sonoma and others say California, Red Splash’s technical notes are also mixed, but I think it is safe to say the majority of the fruit came from Sonoma. Red Splash is the entry level wine for St. Francis Winery of Sonoma and while the grapes used stay the same from vintage to vintage the percentage used change every year, the current vintage is 2010. The wine was aged for 15 months in French and American oak and the alcohol content is 14.5%.
The color is purple with blue/black highlights. This wine smells expensive, raspberry, oak spice, blueberries in cream, a hint of bacon fat, violets and plum. This is a medium to full bodied wine with good balanced fruit. It starts with strawberry jam (but not sugar sweet), black Twizzlers, a little Dr. Pepper, a slight tug from the tannins (nothing major, they just let you know they are there) and a soft slap of Altoids spice. The mid palate adds some smooth vanilla creme, blueberry and tart cranberry. There is decent acidity, it will have you smacking your lips (just a little) and the finish is dark berries and while light and subtle, it does linger for a respectable length of time.
The 2008 Red Splash is a crowd pleaser, a very approachable, easy to relate to, well made Red blend. There are several California and Washington wineries that produce delicious Red blends at an extremely reasonable price, if you want a solid Red Blend, California and Washington give the Rhone Valley Reds a run for their money. The Red Splash can give a holiday backyard BBQ an upscale feel for only $10 a bottle, and that is fairly impressive.