There is nothing more gratifying to us than seeing or hearing about someone enjoying one of our wines. Though we’ve been making wine for forty years, we still get a thrill when a Wine Club Member tells us about serving Flora Springs wines at a special occasion or as an accompaniment to a home-cooked meal. It makes everything we do worthwhile.
While our customers’ feedback is our number one priority, we also appreciate it when our wines get noticed by critics and reviewers who write for magazines, newspapers and blogs. Since releasing our 2016 Trilogy in February we’ve been excited to see a chorus of positive reviews, some of which we’d like to share with you.
97 points Creators Syndicate
“This is the flagship wine from the Komes-Garvey family that owns Flora Springs. It was among the first proprietary Bordeaux-style blends produced in the United States and arguably has long been among the best. Yet it remains a bargain, maybe even a steal, at today’s price of less than $100 a bottle. Rivals that came along at about the same time retail at far higher prices. This vintage is cabernet sauvignon dominant, with petit verdot and malbec fleshing out the “trilogy” blend. Beautifully structured and precise, it offers plush, ripe dark fruits, exquisite tannins and hints of mocha and oak vanillin on the finish. A stunning wine at a stunning price (relative to similar blends from the Napa Valley) that can be consumed now or cellared for another 15 to 20 years.”Read more.
—Robert Whitley, June 2019
93 points Blue Lifestyle
“Deep, dark ruby color; smooth, rich and intense with concentrated flavors; ripe plum, spice and subtle hints of herbs and earth; excellent now, but in a few years this will be a knock out.”Read more.
—Anthony Dias Blue, June 2019
Wines For Father’s Day Gifts MoreAboutWine.com “…if dad collects wine or has developed an appreciation for better quality wines, by all means give him that expensive Bordeaux or the cult cabernet sauvignon from California. Give him a wine that he wouldn’t buy because he’d feel guilty spending the money…
This Bordeaux style red blend is crafted from Flora Springs Estate Vineyards. This elegant blend features notes of cassis, cedar and graphite in a delicious mélange of cabernet sauvignon, petite verdot and malbec. For the impatient father who can’t wait for a wine to age.” Read more.
—Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr, June 2019
Sip and Grill…Red Wines to Pair with your next Barbeque Grape Experiences
“…Simply stunning is Flora Springs Trilogy Red Wine 2016. Considered Flora Springs’ flagship wine due to the fact that it dates from 1981 when the “family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots culled” from their estate vineyards. Even today, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot varieties are sourced from their premium Komes-Garvey estate vineyards. Aged for 20 months in French and American oak, each sip was a gift. Aromas of cherry cola, vanilla, dark chocolate and cinnamon toast led to flavors of spice, black pepper, dark red fruit compote, crushed blueberries, raspberry jam and anise. Remember that peppery rib-eye right off the grill? This wine will be the ultimate pairing.”Read more. —Cindy Rynning, June 2019
91 points Boozehoundz
“Most every major Cabernet Sauvignon producer in Napa has their flagship wine and for Flora Springs, it is Trilogy, which first appeared in 1984. Trilogy has an emphasis on New French Oak and if you love that luxurious, smooth, comforting type of wine, this certainly will play well on your table. The fruit comes from Oakville, St. Helena, and Rutherford so though subtle, it offers some of the best grapes from quality growing regions.
The 2016 iteration offers up rich black berry, blueberry, boysenberry and black cherry notes, along with vanilla, white pepper, cinnamon and subtle notes of amber, sugared almonds and black strap molasses, chaparral and cocoa. Trilogy is comprised mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon, with just 8% Petite Verdot and 6% Malbec. Aged 20 months with mostly French Oak it accentuates what many Napa Cabs strive for, a balance on fruit, food and place.” Read more.
—Michael Cervin, April 2019
A Trio of Wines from Flora Springs Pull That Cork
“…dark ruby in the glass with initial aromas of caramel, and earthy dark fruit. Flavors blackberries, blueberries and dusty earth combine with a core of slate-like minerality. Tannins are grippy and well integrated with the flavors in this juicy, medium-bodied red wine.
Once again, the blending skills of winemaker Paul Steinauer are on display in this lively wine. Since 1984, Trilogy has been Flora Springs’ flagship red wine. It is made from the best lots sourced from estate vineyards in St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. It is aged for 20 months in 87% French oak and 13% American oak. Braised short ribs and silky mashed potatoes with roasted carrots would be a divine pairing with this lovely red blend. It deserves a meal prepared with as much care as went into the making of this wine
If it is important to you to support family-owned wineries then Flora Springs is a winery to consider. Wines from Flora Springs are widely available if you can’t make it to Napa Valley for a visit.”Read more. April 2019
“I’ve been impressed with each vintage I’ve tried of Trilogy, an excellent, cabernet sauvignon from Flora Springs. The 2015 vintage, which we enjoyed on #CabernetDay, was a bold, yet balanced wine. Today, we’re going to enjoy the 2016 vintage of this flagship wine:
This wine is mostly cabernet sauvignon (86%) blended with small amounts of malbec (6%) and petit verdot (8%). The fruit was grown in St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 20 months in a combination of French (87%) and American (13%) oak barrels. It comes in at 14.5% ABV.
The wine showed a dark ruby almost opaque color. Blackberry, cherry, loganberry, raspberry, cassis, dark chocolate and oak all arrived on the complex nose. Blackberry, cherry cola, vanilla, raspberry, cassis, licorice, eucalyptus and oak on a palate that started with dark berry fruit and ended with an herbal finish. The wine exhibited great structure and length, and was quite tannic. This wine would be ideal now for enjoyment with a seared dry-aged ribeye after decanting.”Read more. —The Nittany Epicurean, March 2019
“…this continued to impress. Different than last year, but very impressive. I got notes of black cherry, mocha, cassis, licorice, dark chocolate, vanilla, herbs, spice and elegance. Velvet is a great descriptor for this wine.
The 2016 trilogy is the 32nd release of its flagship wine. Trilogy was first made in 1984 when the family selected the highest quality wine lots from estate vineyards from traditional Bordeaux varietals. The 2016 is a blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec and 8% Petit Verdot. Most of the grapes were grown on the Komes family’s ranch which surrounds the Flora Springs Estate in St. Helena (though the vineyard straddles the St. Helena/Rutherford AVAs), though a small portion came from the family’s Crossroads Ranch in the Oakville AVA.”Read more.
—DallasWineChick.com, March 2019
92 points International Wine Report
“The 2016 Trilogy is modern styled, massive red from Flora Springs, composed of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 8% Petit Verdot. It instantly bursts open with aromas of crème de cassis, blueberries, baking spices, cocoa powder, violets, mocha and sweet toasty oak all coming together. Full-bodied and voluptuous with layer upon layer of sweet ripe fruits and sweet spices enveloping the palate as it heads into the long, plush finish. The 2016 will be open for business upon release and should also continue to provide years of drinking pleasure.”Read more.
—J. D’Angelo, March 2019
Maxine Lee of Drink Good, Live Well launches her Monday Wine Q & A with our 2016 Trilogy: “…what I enjoy most about this wine is the black cherry and licorice just really great your nose, preparing you for an exceptional drinking experience…” March 2019
2016 Trilogy Review Wine Weirdos “…the fruit is very high, high, high quality, the oak is pretty…built to age, but California Cab lovers – you can drink it now…”
Top 12 Best Wines Winter 2019 GO – WINE
“This is a full bodied, juicy medium dry, silky wine…We loved the long creamy finish. We recommend it served with grilled rosemary-sprinkled lamb chops or creamy polenta with a sprinkle of Parmesan. We enjoyed it with delicious aged Gouda.”Read more. February 2019
Grade: A, Score: 94 Into Wine “Purple in color. The nose has cassis, cherries and spice. With air some plums come out. On the palate, this has a lovely texture. Lots of juicy black currants, with black raspberries. Firm tannins. Nice balance…It will go well with a lot of medium or heavier foods but certainly steaks and roasts. If opening now, a 3 hour decant is a good idea.” Read more. January 2019
Flora Springs Releases 2016 Trilogy: An Accessible Napa Cab Blend Wine Predator “My first thought of the 2016 vintage is that it is plush and enjoyable right away, which isn’t always the case with a new release of a Napa wine built on cab. While you could lay this wine down for awhile, it is tempting now and it is impressive for any celebration to drink when that occasion arrives. Balanced with fruit on the front of the palate and lingering minerals on the back. A nice roundness throughout the palate with sage and black licorice adding complexity.”Read more. January 2019
91 points “This is a big and rich red with lots of dried-fruit and chocolate character. Full body, velvety tannins and a flavorful finish…Bigger style of Trilogy. A blend of 86 per cent cabernet sauvignon, eight per cent petit verdot and six per cent malbec. Drink or hold.”
—James Suckling, November 2018
Soliloquy is named for Flora Springs’ proprietary Sauvignon Blanc clone, a singular clone entirely unique to us.
It nearly went extinct when the vines became diseased a couple decades ago, but through various heroic measures we were able to preserve the clone in our Crossroads Vineyard. Recently I decided to re-create Soliloquy, relying on my early memory of the wine to produce what I think could be the finest white wine we’ve ever made.
It was a long process, three years of countless blending trials, but today I’m proud to say that the 2018 Soliloquy has earned its place as Flora Springs’ flagship white wine, a fitting companion to our flagship red, Trilogy. I could not be more excited to introduce this singular white wine. Watch our newest video and learn more about its fascinating history.
The latest round of emojis has been announced, and a total of 230 new ones will be coming out this year—but #wedidntgetawhitewineemoji (insert the new yawning face emoji).
So we are renewing our call for the establishment of a #whitewineemoji. We think every wine lover deserves the opportunity to fittingly share their #currentstatus while drinking white wine. There’s a rainbow of cocktails – and even two beer options – so why is there only a red wine emoji?
Help us get the word out again by sharing your summer white wine adventure story on Instagram or Facebook and use hashtag #whitewineemoji – you’ll get a chance to win a YETI cooler and Flora Springs swag!
The contest ends May 16, and the winner will be announced on #ChardonnayDay—May 23, so see the contest details and enter to win today.
Note: The article excerpted below was originally published in the Napa Valley Register and can be found here.
Arts in April reception with John Bonick at Flora Springs Winery April 12
Flora Springs will hold an artist reception with John Bonick, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, April 12, at The Room in St. Helena.
For this year’s Arts in April installation, Bonick has created “Flora’s Garden” – a series of 8 feet by 3 feet tulips of dibond aluminum adorning the exterior façade of The Room in St. Helena.
He has also created a 10-feet tall wine bottle made entirely of grapevine cuttings from Flora Springs’ estate, a signature piece that Bonick originally developed for BottleRock Napa Valley. Several of his paintings, which have been featured in San Francisco’s Andrea Schwartz Gallery and shown in museums in the Bay Area and beyond, will also be on display.
Flora Springs’ “Arts in April Artful Wine Flight,” featuring the 2017 Dashaway Chardonnay, the just-released 2012 Wine Love Stories Napa Valley Red Blend, and 2016 Ghost Winery Malbec, will be served, along with light appetizers.
Flora Springs was excited to be part of the Premiere Napa Valley 2019 wine auction, which brought in close to $3.7 million this year.
Held each February, Premiere is a who’s who of the wine world, with wineries, wholesalers and retailers coming together to celebrate Napa Valley wines. It’s a wonderful time to connect with our trade partners throughout the country, and Winemaker Paul Steinauer and National Sales Director John Schulz, who represented us at the event, were pleased to see friends and colleagues from as near as California and as far as Florida.
Our auction lot, which we dubbed IV Appellations, was a 100% 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena and Howell Mountain. Here’s what Paul says about the wine: “Because it was sourced from four unique single vineyards the wine imparts a great deal of complexity; melding red fruit characteristics from the valley floor in Oakville with black fruit characteristics from the other sites makes for a multi-dimensional flavor profile.”
The five-case lot brought in $10,000. Flora Springs also participated in a PNV Lot Preview event put on by the Rutherford Dust Society, which was attended by over 150 people. We poured our 2016 Rutherford Hillside Select, which will be released in April. Although it’s still young, guests commented on how approachable it is even now.
There may have been a few raindrops but they sure didn’t dampen the spirits of the folks attending our 2016 Trilogy Release Party on February 2nd!
Setting the upbeat tone were the ramp rippin’ skateboarders from OC Ramps, jumping, flipping and generally shredding to the crowd of pumped up onlookers. The lion dancers, decked out in rain-defying, bright yellow costumes, shimmied, shook and celebrated the Chinese New Year (and our new Year of the Pig Cabernet) with their traditional dance of good fortune.
Doing a little shimmying of his own was Nat Komes, Flora Springs’ third generation general manager, host extraordinaire, wearer of the Trilogy fez and mastermind behind the annual Trilogy Release Party. “One of the best parts of planning this party is deciding what special surprises we’ll offer our guests. It’s always about how can we make this event something people will remember forever…what will really set it apart?”
Nat and the extended Flora Springs family outdid themselves with stilt walkers, living statues, a cheese carver, a glass artist and a live performance by the up and coming rock and alt-country David Luning Band. The party was anchored by numerous wine stations pouring the new 2016 Trilogy and an amazing selection of Flora Springs wines – including library and current releases as well as our highly limited Flora’s Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon.
And as always, Flora Springs brought together top local restaurants to present delicious and inventive dishes, our way of sharing the celebration of our world class wine, Trilogy, with the community. We heard a lot of great comments from our guests throughout the party, but the one that’ll keep us motivated as we plan for next year’s release? “Best Trilogy Party Ever!”
See the OC Ramps team in action:
Save the date – February 1, 2020 – for the 2017 Trilogy Release Party. Learn more and mark your calendar!
Note: The article excerpted below was originally published in The Sacramento Bee and can be found here.
Dunne on Wine: A California wine for everyone on your gift list
For every grape variety it handles, from cabernet sauvignon through malbec, Flora Springs Winery is one of the more consistently reliable producers in Napa Valley. It just never disappoints, and each year at least one of its wines ends up on my list of favorites. This year it is the Flora Springs Winery 2015 Napa Valley Merlot ($30), which all on its own could revive merlot as a staple of the American table for its vivacious fruit, startling complexity and refreshing buoyancy. There are suggestions of plums, cherries and raspberries in aroma and flavor, to be sure, but more intriguing is its thread of green olives.
Note: The following article was originally and published in The Mercury News and can be found here.
4 spectacular Sonoma and Napa wineries dress up for the holidays
Countless wineries offer suggestions and specials on their wares to make the yuletide merry, but there are some that go way beyond the bottle to make spirits bright. These Sonoma and Napa estates and tasting rooms take bedecking and bedazzling to the next level as proof that it’s not just harvest that’s the most wonderful time of the year. Here are are four special spots to explore….
Winery namesake Flora Komes loves the holidays and each year, her grandkids and winery employees go up to her attic for decorations and inspiration. The main estate on Zinfandel Lane is always decorated, but it’s the main tasting room on Highway 29 that gets the full tree and tinsel treatment. A giant wreath and ornaments outside make the already eye-catching modern building even more noticeable. Inside, it’s wall-to-wall trees, wreaths and garlands.
They even bottle up their contagious Christmas cheer in special seasonal releases, including a cabernet called Holiday Helper, and a holiday red blend in a trio of etched bottles with artwork inspired by Flora’s Christmas card collection, such as this year’s toy soldier and snow globe of the estate. For true cabernet connoisseurs, the Three Kings vertical includes the 2014-2016 vintages for a gift that’s fit for, well, a king.
Note: The following article was originally written by Kim Marcus and published in the Wine Spectator on November 30, 2018 and can be found here.
Peaks & Valleys California Merlot is at its best in Napa, where vineyards at diverse elevations deliver distinctive styles
Though Merlot is grown throughout California, Napa Valley is by far the variety’s powerhouse appellation. Yet the region’s wines are not all cut from the same cloth. There’s a marked contrast in style between wines grown on the valley floor and those sourced from mountain sites. The driving force in both types is texture, but the valley wines tend to be fleshy and richer, while higher altitudes provide more structure and purity of flavor. The two top bottlings in this report-one from a high-elevation site and one from valley vineyards—help bring those styles into focus, and their differences can be instructive when it comes to making buying decisions with this versatile grape.
In the past year, I’ve tasted 135 Merlots and Merlot-based blends, with an impressive 43 scoring an outstanding 90 points or higher on the Wine Spectator 100-point scale. (A free alphabetical guide to all wines tasted for this report is available.) The flagship mountain bottling is the La Jota Howell Mountain 2015 (93 points, $85), which offers intense and pure red fruit flavors. La Jota is in the stable of the Jackson Family group of wineries, as is another outstanding mountain Merlot, the Mt. Brave Mount Veeder 2015 (91 $80), with robust and well-knit dried berry and black fruit flavors. The wines are firmly tannic and fresh-tasting, hallmarks of the higher altitudes where they were grown—both at about 1,800 feet, though on opposite sides of the valley.
Skilled Jackson Family veteran Chris Carpenter made both La Jota and Mt. Brave. “There’s a structure to mountain Merlot that is incredibly compelling. And a lot of how I think about Bordeaux varieties in the mountains is tannin development,” he says. “How are the tannins in sync with the sugars, phenols, acid and other compounds? Ultimately, I’d like to have them all in their respective sweet spots, but they all act independently of each other.”
Tannins are usually bigger in mountain-grown grapes, which are typically smaller in size than valley fruit and have a higher skin-to-pulp ratio (skins are tannin-rich). The small berry size is mostly due to the poorer soils and cooler conditions found in the mountains. “The vines are struggling here more than on the valley floor, because there’s very little clay in the soils that retains water and [the soils] are low in nutrients,” Carpenter adds. “Tannins are protective and are there to allow the fruit to ripen.”
To help wrangle those tannins, Carpenter employs a variety of techniques. He is careful to optimally sequence the harvest down to the individual row or plot, which is complicated by the many vineyard exposures, including the shadows cast by tall mountain forests. That’s more of an issue on Mount Brave, where the slopes are steep compared to the relatively level terrain found at the top of Howell Mountain. In the cellar, Carpenter encourages modest exposure to the softening effects of oxygen through aerative pump-overs along with gentle racking into barrels.
The top representative from the valley floor this year is the Venge Oakville Oakville Estate Vineyard 2015 (93, $70), big and rich, with luscious dark fruit flavors. Grab this one while you can, because its vines were pulled for replanting after the vintage. It was made by Kirk Venge, of the family-owned estate in Calistoga, who is now hoping replicate its quality in future vintages with fruit from the nearby Kenefick Ranch vineyard, among other sources.
“I love the approachability of Merlot. The flavor profile has a softer body to it. It’s fun to see its personality and, compared to Cabernet, it shows the terroir better,” Venge says. “We’ve always stuck by Merlot and never abandoned it, even with Sideways,” he adds, referring to the 2004 hit movie in which Merlot was disparaged and that many believe led to the sizeable drop in demand for the wines in the ensuing years. “It’s wonderful in a blend and great by itself, but it is hard to grow because it is prone to poor fruit set and overcropping. It can give you some attitude.”
Venge points outs that he considers Kenefick, which features a very gentle slope at the base of the Palisades cliffs just south of the town of Calistoga, to be more a benchland site than a pure valley vineyard. It also one of the warmest areas in Napa, and Venge is careful with canopy management to protect against the strong rays of the sun. The soils here are gravelly and well-drained, traits the site shares with the vineyard that produced last year’s top-scoring Merlot, the Duckhorn Three Palms Vineyard Napa Valley 2014, which also took Wine of the Year honors.
“We do ripen earlier here but it’s a good location. It gets sun, that’s for sure, but a little later [in the day] because of the Palisades and the narrowness of the valley here,” Venge explains. A tasting of the yet-to-be-released 2016 Kenefick Ranch Merlot revealed richness to the sanguine and spice box flavors. Venge added 5 percent Petit Verdot to the cuvée to build structure and boost depth of flavor; Carpenter added 3 percent Petit Verdot and 2 percent Tannat to his 2016 La Jota for the same reason.
In the list of recommended wines that accompanies this report, you will find additional examples of both mountain and valley styles. From the mountains, besides La Jota and Mt. Brave, top wines were made by Luna, Pride and Beringer. Due to their powerful structures, most would benefit from short-term cellaring and should be good matches for roasted meats and other savory dishes. The leading Merlots of the valley style include those from Flora Springs, Darioush, Stewart and St. Francis (in Sonoma). These are fine for sipping on their own or paired with pasta or grilled steak.
On the values front, you have to be choosy. High-yielding Merlot can taste thin and herbal, and it requires committed winemaking to make high quality affordable versions. Planting it in the right terrain is key as well—with rich soils, the grapes can overproduce and turn weedy; in poorer soils, the tannins can turn tough.
“Like Cabernet does on thinner soils, Merlot can become a raisin even more quickly due to the size of the berry. Or at least head in that direction. Therefore I look for more glacial soils, loam soils, and if they have some clay, even better,” says Nick Goldschmidt, whose Goldschmidt Dry Creek Valley Chelsea Goldschmidt Salmon’s Leap 2015 (90, $20) is one the top values in this report. Other key factors for Goldschmidt include selecting rootstocks in the vineyard that can produce ripe fruit in California’s bone-dry summers without dehydrating. In the cellar, keeping quality high means long fermentations to extract as much flavor as possible.
An exceptionally priced wine for the quality is the Flora Springs Merlot Napa Valley 2014 (92, $30), with silky tannins behind the spicy red fruit flavors. Outside of Napa and Sonoma, the choices are more limited, though it’s worth the search to experience the varying expressions of this versatile grape. Paso Robles is a reliable alternative, with the likes of the San Simeon Estate Reserve 2014 (90, $22), a big and rich red with loamy accents to the dark fruit flavors, and the Maddalena 2014 (88, $18), with red fruit flavors and minerally overtones.
“The most expensive wine in the world is a Merlot [Petrús in Pomerol] and we should have a Merlot that garners that kind of respect,” though not at such a high price, says Jackson Family’s Carpenter. “We have the terroir for it.”
Ambitions still run high in California for Merlot, both on the mountains and in the valleys. And with the best versions generally rich in dark fruit flavors and appealing spice and savory herbal notes, and a bit softer and more open-textured overall than Cabernet, Merlot remains an enticing big red from the Golden State.
Senior editor Kim Marcus is Wine Spectator’s lead taster on California Merlot.