Flora Springs Trilogy is a Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend, lovingly crafted by our family for four decades. With each vintage of this iconic Napa Valley wine, we keep three promises to our customers: longevity in sustainable farming, innovation in winemaking and an enduring commitment to making the finest possible wine. Our 2021 Trilogy, the 38th bottling of this wine, represents a renewal of our craft in both vineyard practices and winemaking and coincides with an elevated label design.
Label art to be revealed soon…
Now in its 38th bottling, our 2021 Trilogy represents an evolution in this wine befitting its legacy as one of the pioneering red wine blends in modern Napa Valley. The genesis of this evolution began in 2019, when our family took the rare opportunity to transition to a small winery following the sale of our original wine buildings and 57 vine acres in St. Helena. Having witnessed many of Napa Valley’s family-owned, legacy wine brands follow industry trends of consolidation, expansion, and acquisition, we made the unanimous decision to explore a new path, dedicating ourselves to evolving to a new, small winery that focuses on crafting wines that best represent the quality Napa Valley and the Komes Garvey family are known for.
From Our Founder, John Komes
“This was an opportunity of a lifetime to take all I’ve learned in 45 years of honing the winemaking craft and apply it to creating the wine I’ve always envisioned,” says Proprietor John Komes. “Moving forward, Flora Springs will do big things by remaining small.”.
We began in our estate vineyards. The Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot in our 2021 Trilogy is sourced from Proprietor John Komes’ home vineyard on the western slopes of the Rutherford AVA, a site John has thoughtfully stewarded since 1977. Driven by John’s longstanding commitment to sustainability, recent improvements to this vineyard include a redesign of its blocks to reflect soil differences, soil renewal and amendments, adjustments in irrigation applications, high-touch canopy management and gentler pruning techniques. These enhancements are already being felt in the character and purity of fruit we see from this vineyard, qualities which will only improve in the coming years.
Transforming nature’s gift is the role of the winemaker, and in this our thirst for innovation is unabated. Recently we built a custom, state-of-the-art winemaking facility to better control fermentations, blending and storage. New equipment allows us to sort grape clusters berry by berry and control the temperature of our fermentation tanks at the touch of a button. Our barrel room can be heated or cooled depending on the stage of the wines’ progress, and for Trilogy, we narrowed our coopers to several of the finest in the industry. The result is increased control over each and every step of the winemaking process and a Trilogy that sets a new bar for quality.
The Label Art
Concurrent with this evolution in winegrowing, our 2021 Trilogy also bears a new label. Our family’s commitment to making the finest wine possible includes creating a package that brings natural beauty and grace to our customers’ tables. With deep embossing and gold leaf touches, this label is both textural and elegant, an apt reflection of the wine within. From grape to table, our 2021 Trilogy embodies our family’s passion for producing unique, vibrant wines of true individuality.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” said John Komes, speaking about the 2022 harvest.
He should know, he’s been through 44 of them! That’s right, this year marked John’s 44th harvest at Flora Springs.
Here’s how he described it: “It was a unique year to say the least. In May a freak hailstorm passed through Napa Valley, part of a system that also brought lightning and even snow to regions to the north of us. A relatively cool summer was followed by an extended heat wave starting Labor Day weekend that dashed any hopes of a leisurely harvest. We brought in our white grapes as fast as we could. And then, following all that heat we had a day of rain, heavy at times but really just enough to knock the dust off the vines. By mid-September, thankfully, the weather was absolutely beautiful…foggy mornings, sunny days and cool nights. We were able to bring in our Cabernet at a nice even pace and the fruit looked fantastic. Good color, great flavors, and even with higher sugar levels, the natural acidity held the grapes’ structure intact. Mother Nature sure had a mixed bag of tricks for us this year, but I’m optimistic about the quality of our 2022 vintage.”
It was the early 1990s and Flora Springs had been in business for just over ten years when I decided we needed to have a tasting room on Highway 29.
There wasn’t quite as much tourism in Napa Valley as there is now, and I wanted a place right on the highway where people could easily visit us. I bought a building – an old HVAC shop – just south of the old Dean & DeLuca gourmet grocery (now Gary’s Wine & Marketplace) in St. Helena. I cleaned it up, installed a circular bar, hired an artist to paint some wall murals, and opened up for tastings.
But business was slow. I kept hearing folks say they hadn’t “noticed” the tasting room, even people who stopped at Dean & DeLuca. I decided to do something about it. My wife, Carrie, and I had recently visited Barcelona and seen many of the buildings designed by renowned architect, Antoni Gaudí. I loved the flow and imagination of his structures, the fanciful nature of his designs.
You can guess what happened next.
When I returned to St. Helena I consulted with a local architect, and together we designed a new Tasting Room that echoes, in Gaudí-like fashion, the look and feel of a wine cave set into a mountainside. We used bent plywood to give the structure its curvature and painted the outside to represent geologic striations in the earth.
Inside we created separate tasting areas made to feel like private rooms in a wine cave, and installed a curved tasting bar with a modern bistro vibe. The rooftop, which has magnificent views of mountains and vineyards to the west, feels like a comfortable living room, a place where people can relax and enjoy a glass of wine.
Wine Tasting in Saint Helena
Thanks to my son Nat, our Tasting Room has gotten some upgrades recently, and I’m excited about the improvements. I always wanted it to be a place where people could indulge their sense of sight as well as taste and smell. Most of all, I want the Tasting Room to inspire curiosity and delight, to be the place where people come to learn more about the legacy of Flora Springs.
Everyone who knows me knows I have an affinity for wild boars. That’s why we named one of our Single Vineyard Cabernets Wild Boar.
My first encounter with a wild boar happened back in the mid-1970s. My dad had purchased some land over in Pope Valley, about 100 acres with 60 acres of vines. Back then, Pope Valley was even more remote and rugged than it is today. Even though it’s just a few miles east of Napa Valley proper, Pope Valley seemed – and still seems – like a step back in time. Anyway, there was an old house on this property that had nine bedrooms and eight bathrooms but no living room. One can only surmise what that house was originally built for!
Since I was a contractor, my dad asked me if I could add a living room to the house. I hired some workers, and one of them was up on a scaffold doing some plastering when he saw a wild boar grazing nearby. He called me and said ‘John, there’s a wild boar on your property. Can I shoot him?’ I said, ‘Why don’t you call the game warden?’ He said, ‘John, a wild boar is a varmint; all I need is your permission.’ I said ‘Ok, as long as you give me the hind quarter.’ So he got his gun, and he shot it. A few minutes later I got a call from my dad: ‘John, John! One of your guys just shot the neighbor’s pig!’”
And that’s how I decided to name one of our single vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons “Wild Boar.” I guess I could have gone with “Neighbor’s Pig,” but Wild Boar has a better ring to it!
In 1997, we released our first Single Vineyard Cabernet — the 1994 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. At the time, Single Vineyard Cabernets from Napa Valley were quite rare. But John Komes recognized there was something special about a group of vines – Block J – located behind his home on the northwestern edge of the Rutherford appellation. Rather than blending he kept these wine lots separate and bottled less than 50 cases on their own, beginning a tradition we’ve held to ever since. The 1994 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon went on to receive 96 points from Wine Spectator. Learn more about our Single Vineyard Cabernets, including our newest release, the 2020 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon.
Over that past few weeks our vineyards have been abuzz with activity. As farmers, our family constantly tends to the vineyards which means meticulous care for every vine throughout our properties in Napa Valley.
With the immense amount of rainfall received over winter, we are seeing a lot more vigor than in previous vintages. Earlier this month we kept busy with leaf removal and shoot positioning to foster adequate light through the canopy and properly see each cluster to maturity. Things are looking great out there and we anticipate a bumper crop for the 2017 vintage.
Over the years, my family has acquired nearly 350 acres of vineyards – which means we have spent much time planting and replanting vines. The newest of late, is the replanting of a 15-acre fallow block on our Crossroads Ranch to Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 2. We anticipate this vineyard to come to fruition in the next 3-to-5 years with excellent Oakville fruit. Stay tuned!
As a vintner, one of the questions I’m asked most often is: “Is this going to be a good year?” The reviewer, of course, is referring to the condition of the grapes. My response is that growing grapes is kind of like a football game. They both have four quarters.
The first quarter – or season – is winter. In football, the first quarter involves deciding what game plan to use after seeing your opponent on the field. Winter for the grape farmer is much the same, analyzing the rainfall and pruning the vines to get the desired outcome. The way you prune – and the number of spurs you leave on the vine – determines the amount and quality of the fruit you’ll get. In football, similarly, the first quarter determines what formation best suits the situation.
The second quarter is spring. Now the game gets interesting. The farmer must play defense, protecting the vines from frost and wind. Either condition can change the whole offensive game plan, causing damage or loss of the tender young buds and flowers that eventually turn into fruit. Either of these would be akin to losing your star running back, something to avoid as much as humanly possible.
At half time the farmer pauses to consider the crop load and canopy management techniques. At this point, with the end game in site, efforts should be directed at the highest possible quality of fruit, not necessarily the greatest quantity.
The third quarter is summer. Things happen quickly during this phase. The clusters take shape and the grapes go through verasion (when they soften and, with red grapes, change color). The farmer prays for warm days, cool nights and low humidity. He or she must determine when to water and how best to prune the vine canopies so that the grapes get enough sunlight to ripen but not burn. The third quarter of the football game is also a show of force, a time to determine the strength of your team and the weakness of your opponent and let them play to their capabilities.
Then there’s the fourth quarter. At the end of the third quarter of Super Bowl 2017, if you were to ask the Atlanta Falcons coach if this was going to be “a good year,” he would have had a positive reply. The fourth quarter is crucial. You either have a maintenance strategy or a go-for-broke strategy. In grape farming, if the weather is favorable and the fruit looks good, it’s a matter of maintaining your position with a little crop management, dropping a little under-ripe fruit to encourage uniform ripening. But if the weather changes and rains are on the horizon, you might try to hasten ripening by dropping lots of fruit, hoping that a smaller crop will ripen more quickly. If it does rain, you can try to keep the berries dry, but if the berries break down before picking, you know how the Atlanta Falcons felt after Super Bowl 2017.
So you see, farmers never know how a vintage will turn out until the fruit is picked and the game is over. I hope you enjoy your next bottle of wine, and next year’s Super Bowl!
This time let’s talk about a couple of the great utilitarian wines that will complement a whole host of foods that we eat quite often. Let’s discuss one white wine and one red wine.
Sauvignon Blanc is the white wine I have chosen to focus on. The Sauvignon Blanc grape can be grown in a multitude of climates with varied results. It can take hot or cold climates. The hot climate tends to yield grapes with high sugars which leads to a fuller wine with sweet heavy flavors. The grapes grown in cooler climates usually will contain sharp fruity flavors with a very crisp finish. Of course, the moderate climate gives the best results with great fruit flavors of melon, honey and citrus. All three styles of wine can suit a large range of food pairings. The wine is especially good with green vegetables such as celery, asparagus and brussel sprouts, but it is also good with entrées like white fish, shell fish, chicken and pork. Sauvignon Blanc is a terrific cocktail on a hot Arizona summer evening. The crisp flavors of the wine replenish the palate.
Now we will move on to Merlot. Merlot is a very likable mild flavored red wine that can be consumed young. I often compare a Merlot grape to the blueberry of the berry family. Just as a blueberry has a pleasing flavor it lacks the long full aftertaste that other berries like strawberry or blackberry have. For me, the pedigree of any wine is in the finish. So, the good producers of Merlot generally blend some other varietals such as Malbec or Petit Verdot to add length and fullness to the wine. Cabernet Sauvignon, was the primary blending wine for years but it changes the flavor pattern of the wine to a mellow Cabernet rather than a full-flavored Merlot. Because of these new blending techniques now used for Merlot enhancing the natural flavors rather than changing the flavor pattern, Merlot is one of the fastest growing varietals in the marketplace. Merlot does have a place on your table, it is the perfect complement with lamb or duck.
To me, the real value of a bottle of wine lies in what you eat with it and who you share it with. When I select a wine I always imagine the food that I’ll serve, and if possible the characteristics of the person or people with whom I will share it. At our table, one of our favorite topics of conversation has to do with the wine we’re drinking and the food we’re enjoying it with.
Let’s say I’ve selected Chardonnay as the white wine and Cabernet Sauvignon as the red wine. In my opinion, Chardonnay is the Queen of the wine world and Cabernet Sauvignon is the King. Winemakers love to work with these varietals because of the naturally full flavors that come from the fruit. Plus, there are many more complex flavors that arise during the fermentation and aging processes.
I like Chardonnays that are full-bodied, meaning they show weight on the palate. At Flora Springs, we like to have a slight creaminess to the wine and at the same time preserve the acidity so it will finish clean on the palate. The flavors experienced should be in the range of fresh-picked fruit such as pears or peaches. One should be able to taste a delicacy of honey with a slight lactic tone. My favorite food pairing with Chardonnay is lobster or even better, lobster bisque. The buttery character of the lobster and creaminess of the bisque are perfect with a well-made Chardonnay. And my favorite companion to share this pairing would be my wife, Carrie.
Now for the King. Cabernet Sauvignon berries are small and intensely concentrated; they don’t carry a lot of liquid that would dilute their flavor. I think of the Cabernet grape as masculine with its tannic structure. The tannins give the flavors of cassis and blackberries a ride on the palate, but the palate doesn’t getting overly saturated with fruit flavors. Thus, Cabernet is perfect with a medium rare steak; it cleanses the palate of the fatty meat flavors and leaves a lasting impression of structured fruit. Again, Carrie is my preferred partner with Cabernet, along with the rest of my extended family!
I hope you enjoy my passionate description of the wines I love. May your next bottle of wine be enjoyed in good company!