Preferred Palates Newsletter

Welcome Preferred Palates Members. We hope you enjoy learning more about the Wine Club shipment wines in your Notes.

Current Issue: December 2020

2017 St. Helena Rennie Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"As some of you know, I turned 80 in October. Even writing this feels odd, as I certainly don’t feel like an octogenarian! While I’d originally planned to celebrate the milestone on a Mediterranean cruise with my wife, Carrie, along with a few of my favorite people (wine club members I’m looking at you), the pandemic derailed that trip, at least for the time being. Still, my family and I enjoyed a very nice dinner together, topped off with a bottle of my favorite wine, Trilogy. No complaints! But here’s what I didn’t expect..."

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October 2020

2017 Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon

"When you’ve been in the wine business as long as I have, you think you’ve seen it all. And though the year 2020 has thrown us a curve ball or two, I choose to remain optimistic. I have a lot to be thankful for: we’re making wine this year for the first time in the small winery I built behind my house, which means I’m as close to the wine as I can get. I’m surrounded by my family and our small but dynamic team, and we’ve managed to stay healthy and safe. And because of club members and customers like you, we’ve been able to keep the winery going despite the downturn in restaurant and retail sales. I can’t tell you how much your patronage and loyalty means to us. I know life will get better in the days ahead; it always does. In the meantime, thank you, more than ever, for supporting our small family winery..."

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August 2020

2017 Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon

"In the late 1980s when we purchased the Kairos Vineyard, if you’d told me that one day it would produce one of Flora Springs’ finest wines, our Single Vineyard Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon, I wouldn’t have believed you. When my sister Julie and her husband, Pat Garvey, showed me the property, it was frankly kind of a mess. The vines were old and head-trained, but not in a good way. They’d been neglected for years, and the fruit they produced showed it. But Pat and Julie saw promise in the site, and we went ahead with the purchase..."

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June 2020

2017 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"One of the things I love most about wine is that it’s such a social drink. By that I mean, it’s meant to be shared. You can tell just by its packaging. Beer and cocktails come in single servings; wine (with the exception of the current trend in cans) comes in a bottle, with plenty of liquid for two. Wine is a beverage you linger over, and if you linger long enough, it might even change in the glass, offering even more aromas and flavors - and pleasure - as time goes by. Beer and cocktails just get warm! And nobody can argue that wine inspires conversation. Today, I think, enjoying a glass of good wine with a partner, family member or friend is more important than ever..."

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April 2020

2017 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon

"If you’ve been a Preferred Palates club member for a while, you’ve probably heard my Wild Boar story (if you haven’t, you can read it on our blog under “How did Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon Get its Name?). At the end of the story, one of the guys working on the vineyard property shoots what he thinks is a wild boar, only to discover it was actually the neighbor’s pig. I’ve often been asked what the neighbor did about it, and the answer is..."

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February 2020

2017 Trilogy & 2017 Flora's Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon

"To me, wine is as much about texture as it is about taste. In fact, texture may be even more important to me when evaluating a vintage. I want a wine which coats my mouth completely, that touches every part of my palate so that I can fully appreciate it. This may be why the last several vintages of Trilogy, including the just-released 2017 in your shipment, have been blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec. They make an ideal threesome..."

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December 2019

2016 St. Helena Rennie Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"1885. That was the year James and William Rennie, brothers who emigrated to the U.S. from Scotland, planted 60 acres of vines and built a stone winery at the end of West Zinfandel Lane in St. Helena. Of course I’m not sure it was even called West Zinfandel Lane back then. I’m guessing it was a dirt road and that it passed through more walnut and prune orchards than vineyards. The funny thing is, even when my parents purchased the old Rennie Brothers property in the mid-1970s, the place had no address..."

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October 2019

2016 Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon

"When I started Flora Springs in the mid-1970s I had a little home winemaking experience and a lot of moxie. At least I was smart enough to know what I didn’t know, so in those first couple of vintages I sought consulting help from Mary Ann Graf. She was recommended to me by one of my home winemaking buddies, and though I’m not sure I realized it at the time, she was the first female to graduate from UC Davis with a degree in fermentation science. Mary Ann was a smart person, a good winemaker and a straight shooter. But I definitely tested her patience. I remember calling her one day and quizzing her for three hours about a problem I was having with a wine...."

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August 2019

2016 Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon

"I’ve always had a fondness for old buildings. I love taking a structure that has history and character in its bones and breathing new life into it. Restoring Flora Springs’ century-old Ghost Winery, which had been virtually abandoned when my family purchased it in the late 1970s, was a highlight of my career. Over the years I also revived several other properties in Napa Valley, helping a friend renovate his 100+ year old stone winery in Oakville, and even preserving a couple of farmhouses destined for demolition by moving them to different sites. My passion for restoration extends to vineyards also, and our Out of Sight vineyard in southeast Napa Valley is a prime example..."

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June 2019

2016 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"When my father and mother purchased the Napa Valley property that is now the Flora Springs estate, they had no intention of starting a winery. It was 1977, and while there were a few wineries scattered throughout the valley, there were as many prune and walnut orchards as there were vineyards. My dad saw himself as a gentleman farmer, selling grapes to neighboring wineries and relaxing in his retirement. I was 37 at the time, newly infatuated with wine..."

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April 2019

2016 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon

"In Europe it is not uncommon to find winemaking dynasties that go back dozens of generations. We can't say the same for Napa Valley; after all, wine grapes weren't even planted here until the 19th century. But I like to think that Flora Springs, now in its third generation, is a dynasty in the making. That's why the term Grand Estates Tradition appears on the back label of each of our Single Vineyard Cabernets...."

Download April Notes

February 2019

2016 Trilogy & 2016 Flora's Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon

"When I started making Cabernet Sauvignon in the late 70s, Napa Valley winemakers followed the Bordeaux model. The general consensus was that high quality Cabs should be built to age for a long period of time. In practical terms this meant that upon release, many Cabernets were simply too big, too tannic and too overpowering to drink; they needed time in the bottle to mellow out. So in 1984 I decided to try something different..."

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