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.
We have missed you and can’t wait to welcome you back to our Tasting Room in Napa Valley for wine tasting while enjoying views of flourishing vineyards and the western hillsides. We are now accepting reservations starting February 1.
Halloween is always a cause for celebration at Flora Springs, and all year long we look forward to releasing our Halloween Wines. Over the last decade, these seasonal bottlings have become some of our most anticipated and highly sought after annual releases.
We are so pleased to introduce our first new Single Vineyard Cabernet in over two decades. John and Nat have been working on this project for years, tasting wines from all over the appellation to find just the right flavor and tannin profile. As they explored and experimented, they finally identified a wine from one of the highest elevation sites in the AVA that met their criteria, a beautifully expressive mountain Cabernet, distinct from our other Single Vineyards but no less prized. Why Dust & Glory?
Noted Napa sommelier Christina Stanley explains why she loves and recommends our flagship red wine, Trilogy.
Trilogy dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots culled from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red blends, and today this Bordeaux-style wine continues to be sourced from our own Komes-Garvey estate vineyards.
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 2019 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.
We know that when it comes to wine clubs, there are many options and you’re likely wondering what is the best Napa Valley Wine Club. At Flora Springs, we are committed to providing our Wine Club Members with an unparalleled experience.
“It’s been our favorite club to be a part of. But what I love most about being a member of the Flora Springs Wine Club—the wine always tastes great.”—Christy Bradshaw, Flora Springs Great Tastes Wine Club Member
Our etched and hand-painted Holiday Bottles are one of Flora Springs’ most treasured traditions, a way for us to give our Wine Club Members exclusive access to rare wines in festive, one-of-a-kind bottlings. Each year Nat Komes lets the creative juices flow as he and our team come up with new artful designs, many of them inspired by the holiday traditions we enjoy in our own homes.
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.
Accolades for 2016 Trilogy
92 points Wine Spectator “Warm plum, raspberry and blackberry fruit is lush in feel, carried by bright anise and apple wood accents through the juicy finish. A good brambly underlay throughout adds energy. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2029.” —James Molesworth, August 2019
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
Now that you have acquired an older wine, often referred to as a library wine, you might be asking, “How do I open this without making a mess of the cork?”—or—“What’s the best way to serve this wine once opened?”
First, the basics—it’s natural that a cork will soften with age. It’s also natural that a wine may develop some sediment as it ages. Well fear not, with the proper tools and technique, you shouldn’t have too much difficulty.
Let’s go through the steps.
1) First, store your bottle in an upright position several days prior to opening, preferably in a cool location. Doing so will allow any suspended sediment to settle at the bottom of the bottle.
2) Next, choose the cork extractor you prefer—here are my recommendations:
Best – The Durand is a two-pronged wine opener—also known as an “Ah-So”—but with a built-in corkscrew. This is not an inexpensive item, but if you open a lot of older wines it could be a nice addition to your cellar.
Good – A standard two-pronged cork puller is also known as an “Ah-So.” Gently insert the longer tip between the glass and the cork, and gently rock back and forth until it is fully inserted in the bottle. Then slowly twist—while pulling up at same time.
Good – A pressurized cork extractor (like Cork Pops) is a device comprised of a needle and a carbon dioxide cartridge. Center the needle in the cork and penetrate it all the way through, then press the cartridge until the cork extracts. Hint: It’s best to cover the neck of bottle with a napkin or paper towel, as sometimes a bit of wine and/or sediment can also be extracted when under pressure.
OK – A corkscrew with a long, grooved shaft will make extracting an older, soft cork easier than using a shorter corkscrew without the grooving. Make sure it is centered directly in the cork, then twist it well into the cork. Be sure to pull up slowly.
If none of these methods work for you, as a last, last resort, find a blunt instrument that is narrower that the cork. Put the bottle in a sink and then place a plastic bag (or something similar) over the bottle neck. Then slowly and carefully push the cork down until it is no longer blocking the neck of the bottle. Hint: You definitely want something covering the opening of the bottle—as the wine will have a tendency to push upwards and out as the cork is pushed down.
3) Now that you have the cork out, you are ready to serve your wine.
Best – Carefully and slowly pour the wine into a decanter. Once you start to see sediment, stop pouring.
OK – If you don’t have a decanter, line up your wine glasses on a counter. Take a glass in one hand, and carefully pour the wine with the other hand. Be sure to keep the neck of the bottle in the same position, and fill the next glass…and so on. Hint: You want to minimize turning the bottle upright as doing so will disturb the sediment that has settled into the bottom of the bottle.
4) Maybe you didn’t have time to let the bottle sit upright for a few days, or perhaps you see pieces of cork floating in the bottle. As a last, last resort, you can pour the wine through a fine screen or coffee filter to a decanter, or even a pitcher. If you don’t want to serve from that vessel, you can always rinse out the wine bottle well, and pour the now-filtered wine back into it.
5) Remember, most older wines only require decanting to ensure that the wine is clear—not to allow the wine to “open up” or “breathe.” Library wines do not need more oxygen at this point.
6) Also, I recommend you serve and drink the wine soon after opening. The older the bottle, the sooner you will want to drink it to retain as much fruit expression as possible.
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.