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.
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.
Note: The following article, written by St. Helena Star tasting panel writer Catherine Seda Bugue, was published here in the St. Helena Star on October 10, 2013.
In college, some friends and I resolved ourselves to go trick or treating. Amongst the shorter set, consisting of a few fairy princesses and Draculas, we trumped up the long walkways of the mansions in our college’s ritzy New York suburb. Many a good neighbor greeted us with grins but several also pulled out wine glasses and offered a sip of this or a shot of that. Halloween treats had gone up a notch.
To commemorate their century-old ghost winery, Flora Springs has once again released a special Halloween wine, this time petit verdot. The art on the label by Wes Freed is worth it all (and $20 posters are for sale on the website), but the wine ($55), from fruit on Atlas Peak, will be appreciated by those wanting rich plummy flavors with lots of oak-influenced sweet spice flavors like vanilla and cinnamon.
To get into the ghoulish mood, you can witness the mad scientist (aka GM Nat Komes) at work in the Flora Springs cellar in their newest video on florasprings.com.
Learn more about our 2011 Ghost Winery Petite Verdot here. You can also visit our YouTube channel to watch “It’s Alive!” starring Flora Springs General Manager and Ghost Winery Mastermind Nat Komes.
“This St. Helena winery has long had a fondness for the grape, down to maintaining this particular vineyard with a mix of its own unique clone and heady musqué. Again, the mix of steel, barrel and concrete pays off: It’s ripe and fragrant, full of lily and grapefruit, plus slightly sweet tangerine and peach fruit.” – Jon Bonné, San Francisco Chronicle, July 2013
We’re very excited to be one of the “examples of Napans who are taking the grape seriously….in a way that reflects ripe, quality fruit and the subtle innovations in the cellar that show the beauty of that fruit.” You can learn more about our 2012 Oakville Sauvignon Blanc here. The original article can be found here.
The award criteria are: a strong commitment to sustainable practices; recognized leadership in agricultural preservation; dedicated community focus, contributions to the Napa Valley community; and someone who actively promotes Napa’s reputation for the highest quality vineyards.
In 1978, Pat Garvey traded his Master’s Degree in Psychology and Counseling for a tractor – and the opportunity to launch a world-class Napa Valley winery with his wife, Julie Garvey, and his brother-in-law John Komes. While Flora Springs started as a fledgling family business nearly three decades ago, today the Komes and Garvey families own and manage more vineyard acres – 600 in all – than most family-owned and managed vineyard holders in the Napa Valley.
As Vineyard Director for all of Flora Springs’ vineyards since its inception, Pat has not only taken the responsibility to remain an innovator with meticulous farming practices to create world-class wines; he has done so with the overarching premise of stewardship and family values: all of Flora Springs’ vineyards are 100% sustainable.
Under Garvey’s watch, Flora Springs has been on the cutting edge of new vineyard practices, from trellising systems to canopy management, to clone selection and hand-harvesting grapes at night. In addition, Pat received organic certification in 2008 from the California Certified Organic Farmers for 120 acres of Flora Springs’ vineyards. Another 240 acres were certified in 2010.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Pat was instrumental in establishing the Oakville and Rutherford appellations. Today, grapes grown in the 10 distinct Napa Valley vineyards owned by the Flora Springs family are in high demand. “With 10 different vineyards in six appellations, the ability to develop character in the grapes through careful rootstock selection, clones and vineyard practices, and a dedicated, consistent staff over the past several years, our grapes receive the kind of attention and consistency that can’t be duplicated,” he adds.
NVG President David Beckstoffer recognized the important place Pat holds in the Napa Valley history book, noting “Pat is a tremendously well-respected grapegrower and a model citizen in our community. His contributions to the Napa Valley are numerous and although he would be the last to say it, he is highly deserving of this special award”.
Wife Julie describes Pat as “alive, optimistic, fun-loving, compassionate, generous, interested, and interesting”. She also mentioned that she is “so proud that Pat is receiving this accolade…and that he never seeks credit, but always deserves it.”