Q & A with Winemaker Paul Steinauer: 2012 Trilogy
January 7, 2015
The creation of Trilogy goes back to 1984 when our family set out to make the best wine possible by selecting the highest quality lots from our estate vineyards. More than 30 years later, we are proud to present the 2012 Trilogy, a wine Robert Parker calls one of our “most iconic red wines.”
Here our winemaker, Paul Steinhauer, tells us what goes into blending our flagship wine.
Q: Do you know ahead of time which vineyard lots will make it into Trilogy?
Paul: Having worked with these vineyards for over three decades we definitely have a sense which lots will make the cut. Over time Trilogy has evolved into a true “winery estate” wine, and what’s interesting is that our estate actually spans two appellations, Rutherford and St. Helena. The majority of the Cabernet Sauvignon as well as the Malbec, Petite Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Franc come from vineyards that surround the winery. We also use grapes from our Crossroads Vineyard in Oakville, as well as our Windfall Vineyard in the southern part of Rutherford.
Q: When do you compose the Trilogy blend?
Paul: We begin in the spring after the harvest year as we start to get a sense of how the wines are evolving. We make two blends of each variety: two Cabernet Sauvignons, two Merlots, two Malbecs, etc. These blends might be assembled from 30 or more wine lots. At this point, even though we’re creating individual varietal blends, we’re envisioning how each varietal will react with the other varietals down the road.
The next stage is approximately 16 months later when we determine the final varietal makeup. Not all of our original components will be used. For instance, in some vintages Cabernet Franc brings something to the table, in other vintages it doesn’t. We know the foundation of the blend is Cabernet Sauvignon, and we integrate the other varietals to create a wine that has great aromatics, is fruit forward and rich on the palate, and finishes with a soft silkiness. If the wine has these attributes, drinks well on its own and can accompany a variety of foods, then we’ve achieved our goal.
Q: Who is involved in the blending process?
Paul: In addition to the winemaking team the Komes and Garvey family is very much a part of the blending decision. We also often invite a wine industry person outside of Flora Springs to join for some of the tastings. It’s always nice to get another perspective from an industry professional, whether a winemaker or perhaps a sommelier. It makes for healthy discussions!
Q: How does the 2012 Trilogy compare to past vintages?
Paul: Over the past three decades, there have been some legendary vintages of Trilogy. However, the 2012 vintage may prove to be the best of all. The planets aligned at harvest to create the absolute ideal growing conditions. With these perfectly ripe grapes, we were able to craft a wine that possesses all the traits we strive for – inviting aromatics, silky, rich fruit across the palate, and a finish that begs for another sip.