Preferred Palates Newsletter

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

Current Issue: 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...."

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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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December 2018

2015 St. Helena Rennie Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"As a student of history I often think about the people who first made wine in Napa Valley, including the Rennie Brothers who built the 19th century winery that now houses Flora Springs. I like to think that I’ve contributed to preserving that history, by restoring the old Ghost Winery on our property, but also through other construction projects I’ve done in the valley, almost all of them restorations and/or remodels of existing buildings. The most recent example is the old barn in back of my home which I’ve reconfigured into..."

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October 2018

2015 Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon

"Since my family started making wine in Napa Valley forty years ago, some of the most profound changes have been in the way we farm grapes. We’ve owned our estate vineyards for a long time and have had several opportunities to replant. Each time we do, we experiment with different spacing, rootstocks, clones, trellis systems, you name it. It’s all about fine tuning as we go along..."

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August 2018

2015 Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon

"When we started making our Single Vineyard Cabernets we aged the wines in 100% French oak barrels. I used to joke that if you wanted to see one of your Napa Valley neighbors in the early 1980s you had to visit a French cooperage! But American oak has come a long way since those early days..."

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June 2018

2015 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"People often ask me if I think there are too many wineries in Napa Valley. I don’t think there are too many wineries; I just think there are too many big wineries!..."

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April 2018

2015 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon

"I began learning about wine back in the 1970s when my wife Carrie signed us up for a wine appreciation class. Though I attended with her out of husbandly duty, I fell in love with the stuff.."

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February 2018

2015 Trilogy & 2015 Flora's Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon

"I’ll admit it; I drink a lot of Trilogy. And it’s not only because I enjoy it – which of course I do – but because I’m always thinking about how to improve it...."

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