Harvest 2014 Update #5

August 18, 2014

And it begins!

“We have harvested grapes from our Oakville Crossroads Vineyard, Block H1 (Soliloquy Clone) into 1/2 ton picking bins – ready to go into press to be ‘whole cluster pressed’.”

— Winemaker Paul Steinauer

Flora Springs Harvest Oakville Crossroads Vineyard, Block H1 (Soliloquy Clone) 1/2 ton picking bins 2014

Introducing 2012 Star Star Late Harvest Chardonnay

December 18, 2013

Star Star Chardonnay Lavender Hill Vineyard in Carneros

We have always loved the exotic character of late harvest white wines, and in 2012 we set aside a small quantity of Chardonnay from our Lavender Hill Vineyard in Carneros to make just one barrel of this rich and decadent dessert wine. Our Star Star Chardonnay is absolutely dripping with aromas of honey, bright orange blossom, rich almond and baked caramel apples. Full, luxurious flavors of apricot, orange liqueur, marzipan and apple tatin coat the mouth and linger long into the finish. With its unique warmth and richness, this wine is a perfect accompaniment to fruit tarts and soft cheeses, or it can be served as a dessert unto itself.

Winemaking
Our Star Star Late Harvest Chardonnay was made in the Italian style of “appassimento” (meaning to dry and shrivel), just as the famous Amarone (Veneto) and Sfursat (Lombardia) wines are made each year. The making of appassimento-style wine dates back over 3500 years to the ancient Romans, who regarded it as an elixir of the gods. Just one bottle of this wine requires over two pounds of fresh grapes.

The grapes were harvested on October 31st at 24.7 degrees Brix. Handled individually to avoid breakage or crushing, each cluster was hung up (strung by hand onto long pieces of string) or set out to dry on large burlap sacks, allowing plenty of air flow. After five weeks of drying the weight of the clusters was reduced by roughly 30% and the Brix level was elevated to 33.6 degrees. The greater concentration of sugar was accompanied by a distinct change in flavors and aromatics. After careful pressing, the wine was aged in one neutral French oak barrel for 13 months.

Limited availability – only one barrel produced. Shop now. >

The photos below were taken by the winemaking team at the beginning of the five week drying process.

Star Star Chardonnay Flora Springs Drying on burlap sacks late harvest clusters
Drying on burlap sacks helps to absorb moisture from the late harvest Chardonnay clusters.
Star Star Chardonnay strung by hand to dry in late harvest
Light shining through the curtain of late harvest Chardonnay strung by hand to dry for five weeks.
Star Star Chardonnay late harvest grapes hung up to dry in tradition of Appasimento
Curtain of late harvest Chardonnay grapes hung up to dry in the tradition of Appassimento style wines.

 

Flora Springs Winemaker Loves His Sauvignon Blanc

August 6, 2013

Note: Flora Springs Winemaker Paul Steinauer was interviwed by The Press Democrat. The following article was published here on August 6, 2013.

When Paul Steinauer was young, he had a thimble full of wine and said, “dood wine (good wine).”

“I was destined to be a winemaker,” he said.

Steinauer is the winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner — the Flora Springs, 2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc at $25.

It’s a sassy sauvignon blanc with zesty aromas and flavors. It’s complex, with notes of honeysuckle, pear and lime, and it has a crisp finish.

Steinauer has a good pulse on sauvignon blanc.

“It’s my favorite white wine to drink, so I drink a lot of sauvignon blancs in the course of a year from all over the world,” he said.

Steinauer said the most challenging part of making sauvignon blanc is deciding when to harvest the fruit.

The goal is to “strive for physiological ripeness, yet retain enough natural acidity to carry it through,” he said.

What the uninitiated don’t know about sauvignon blanc is how versatile the wine is, Steinauer said.

“It’s equally as enjoyable to consume by itself, but friendly enough to pair with a plethora of dishes from a citrus salad to your favorite seafood dish,” he said.

This marks Steinauer’s 23rd year at Flora Springs in St. Helena, and before that he worked at Joseph Phelps Vineyards, also in St. Helena.

What most people may not know about Steinauer is that he’s a frequent flyer.

“I have traveled to over 40 countries on all 7 continents,” he said.

What makes him a good winemaker, Steinauer said, is that he’s never lost his passion for the art of wine.

As he puts it, “I have never awakened on Monday morning and not wanted to go to work.”

Wine of the Week: Scouting for the tastiest sauvignon blancs

Wine writer Peg Melnik had a blind tasting this week of sauvignon blancs, from fruit-forward to tangy.

Our winner is the Flora Springs, 2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc, 14.2 percent alcohol, at $25.

A sassy sauvignon blanc with zesty aromas and flavors. Notes of lemongrass, lime and pear, with a crisp finish. Tangy.

You can learn more about our 2012 Sauvignon Blanc here.

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