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 2023

2018 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon & 2018 Celebrating Our 40th Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon

"Our 45th harvest at Flora Springs is in the books! It’s hard to believe it was over four decades ago we started our family winery. I remember that first harvest so well, when we invited a few close friends to pick grapes with us in St. Helena. It was hard work! But so gratifying to work side by side with my family – parents, sister, brother-in-law, wife, sons – to create something new..."

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October 2023

2019 Howell Mountain Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon

"This is the third vintage of our Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon from the Howell Mountain AVA, the first new Single Vineyard Cabernet to be added to our portfolio in over two decades. We always admired the wines of Howell Mountain, an appellation that sits to the east of St. Helena in the Vaca Mountain range. But we also learned that growing fruit on Howell Mountain comes with its challenges..."

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August 2023

2020 Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon

"Out of Sight has always been one of our most consistent estate vineyards, a site our winemaker, Enrico Bertoz, describes as “tried and true, year after year.” So even though the 2020 wildfires affected many areas in Napa Valley, Out of Sight – located on the east side of the valley between the Oak Knoll and Coombsville AVAs - delivered beautiful fruit that year as usual..."

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June 2023

2019 KC7 Cabernet Sauvignon

"The KC7 Cabernet Sauvignon is the first and last of its kind. KC7’s significance lies in the fact that it honors a small block of vines a stone’s throw away from our family’s 40+ year home. There’s something undeniably gratifying about living surrounded by vineyards. The vines make you hyper aware of the seasons and appreciative of the rhythms of each successive growing year. Sustainable farming is personal; planting cover crops, utilizing natural predators such as owls and bluebirds, protecting waterways – these are just some of the practices we adopted long ago as we raised our children in this agricultural setting. KC7 honors a specific block, but also a way of life and a way of farming that we’ve practiced for decades..."

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April 2023

2018 Trilogy & 2017 Flora's Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon

"It’s no secret that 2020 was a challenging year to make wine in Napa Valley, and like many of our neighbors, Flora Springs drastically reduced the production of our Single Vineyard Cabernets that vintage. So this year, we're opening our library to offer you wines we’ve set aside from previous stellar vintages that have been aging in our cellar. The wines in your April shipment represent the “best of” Flora Springs, though in contrasting ways..."

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February 2023

2020 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon

"Everyone knows I have an affection for wild boars. It all started with a funny mix-up between a wild boar and a neighbor’s pig when our family bought a vineyard in rural Napa County in the 1980s. That mix-up turned into a great story, and eventually we named one of our Single Vineyard Cabernets ‘Wild Boar.’ But to some folks, wild boars are nothing but a nuisance. Years ago, Carrie and I had a neighbor who lived in Napa Valley part time. One day she called and accused me of raising wild boars, or “little critters” as she referred to them, as pets. I laughed and explained that wild boars aren’t pets, they’re wild. She ended up calling the sheriff..."

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December 2022

2018 Howell Mountain Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon

"Adding a new Single Vineyard wine to our portfolio is a big deal. I became interested in making a Howell Mountain AVA Cabernet years ago after Nat and I attended the Taste of Howell Mountain, an annual tasting of wines from the appellation. As we made our way around the tables, we admired many of these mountain-grown wines, although several were just too tannic for our palates. Still, I was intrigued, and we began searching out growers throughout the appellation as a source for our own Howell Mountain Cabernet. Eventually, we came upon a site on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain with an elevation that rises to 2,100 feet, about as high up on the mountain as you can get..."

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October 2022

2019 Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon

"Every time I open a bottle of our Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon, I think of my father-in-law. He was a woodsman, a contractor from Minnesota who sourced lumber for milling. He loved trees and plants, and never tired of walking through the vineyards with me on his visits to Napa Valley. I can still hear him with his thick German accent, exclaiming "Holy smoke John!" though phonetically it sounded more like "schmoke." He was so impressed with the valley and its vineyards, and though I think he preferred a nice German Riesling to a Cabernet, he appreciated the hard work and dedication that went into growing grapes and making wine. When it came time to naming the wine in your shipment, I knew I wanted to honor him..."

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August 2022

2019 Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon

"September 1, 2022 is Cabernet Day, which has me thinking about this most noble of wine varietals. In her seminal book The Wine Bible, author Karen MacNeil describes Cabernet Sauvignon as “the preeminent classic red grape variety,” while Master Sommelier Andrea Immer, in Great Wine Made Simple, avows that “Cabernet Sauvignon’s scent and flavor profile are truly the paradigm for most of the world’s top quality red wines.” At Flora Springs we agree that when it comes to reds, it’s hard to beat Cabernet Sauvignon. Our portfolio of Single Vineyard Cabernets is meant to showcase how this “preeminent” varietal expresses itself in different sub-regions of Napa Valley, and the Out of Sight Cabernet in your shipment is but one example. Tasting through some past vintages recently, I was reminded of how well this wine ages..."

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June 2022

2019 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"The wine in this month’s shipment is especially significant, the 25th vintage of our Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon. When we first made this wine in 1994, Single Vineyard Cabernets were somewhat rare. It was also unusual to harvest and ferment small blocks of a vineyard separately, but that’s exactly what we did that year. We’d noticed that one of blocks up behind my house was always low yielding, so rather than combine the grapes with fruit from other blocks, we fermented and aged the wine on its own. What a revelation..."

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April 2022

2019 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon

"I have a new love in my life. His name is Willy, and he’s a 16-week-old short legged Jack Russell terrier. Now you have to understand that I never intended to get a new dog, much less a puppy. My wife, Carrie, and I were driving to Arizona last November and stopped in Palm Desert. As we checked into our hotel we saw an older gentleman with a very handsome Jack Russell and got to talking. I asked where he got the dog, and he said Blythe, near the California/Arizona border. Well, we just happened to be going through Blythe and we stopped to see the breeder. The rest, as they say, is history. We picked up Willy – who we named after our tiki restaurant, Wilfred’s Lounge..."

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February 2022

2019 Flora's Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon & 2019 Trilogy

"This Preferred Palates shipment represents the debut of our 2019 Cabernet Sauvignons, a special vintage for the Flora Springs family. In addition to being a spectacular growing year in Napa Valley, 2019 represents the passing of the torch from our longtime winemaker Paul Steinauer to his assistant – and our current winemaker - Enrico Bertoz. Paul began working for Flora Springs in 1990 and was named winemaker in 2008, overseeing a 20-year string of growing seasons and harvests before his retirement in 2019. Enrico joined us in 2008, working side by side with Paul for 12 years before assuming the role of winemaker...."

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December 2021

2018 Celebrating Our 40th Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon

"First off, I want to thank the wonderful club members who took time to wish me a happy birthday this year. Your greetings really make an old guy like me feel special! Carrie and I got to spend a few days in Hawaii this fall, the first time we’ve been off the mainland for nearly two years. We went to Oahu, where my mother, Flora Komes, was born and grew up. I love taking in the sites that surrounded her as a child. I’m not exactly sure how she tore herself away from such an amazing locale, but I’m glad she did or I wouldn’t be here! The trip made me even more excited for the opening of our family’s new restaurant and tiki bar in Napa, Wilfred’s Lounge..."

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October 2021

2018 Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon

"When we started Flora Springs in 1978, Napa Valley was a very different place. There were only a handful of vintners here at the time, and we all knew each other. And since growing grapes and making wine was still a relatively unknown endeavor, we relied on each other for information, advice, even equipment. There was more camaraderie than competition. Today, while there's still camaraderie among Napa Valley winemakers, the industry is not as close knit as it once was. I suppose that's inevitable and could be said about many maturing industries. Looking back, I’m thankful we started Flora Springs when we did..."

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August 2021

2018 Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon

"With restaurants opening up again, I've been thinking a lot about the role of the sommelier. I think it's a job I would have loved, tasting and learning about wines from around the world and helping customers find just the right match for their meal. But in my day, there just weren’t that many sommeliers around; only five-star restaurants and hotels had them. Today they're much more prevalent, and I really enjoy picking their brains when I'm dining out..."

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June 2021

2018 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

"When I built our Tasting Room on Highway 29, just south of St. Helena, I was inspired by the famous Catalan architect, Antoni Gaudi. Carrie and I had recently been to Barcelona and seen some of Gaudi’s most famous works. I’d heard the well-known quote attributed to him: "There are no straight lines or sharp corners in nature. Therefore, buildings must have no straight lines or sharp corners." With that as my cue, I designed our Tasting Room, a building that echoes the undulating hills to the west and the wine caves burrowed into them. I still love the feeling of entering that building, cool, cozy and cave-like at first until you walk out onto the sun-washed open-air patio with its spectacular views and modern aesthetic..."

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April 2021

2018 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon

"I’ve always thought that living life to the fullest means that sometimes, you take a leap of faith. Many years back I was driving around and saw a used Porsche for sale. I’ve always loved those cars, so I stopped and had a look. It was in good shape, seven years old but with only 7,000 miles on it. The price tag was a little high for my budget then, but I decided to give it a test drive. The feeling I had when I started up the engine is almost indescribable. The adrenaline just flowed. Needless to say, that car came home with me that day. I think wine is similar..."

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February 2021

2018 Flora's Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon & 2018 Trilogy

"I’ve been thinking a lot lately about relationships. The personal relationships that sustain us in our daily lives, but also the professional ones that nurture our careers. Throughout my time in the wine industry, I’ve gotten to know wine shop owners, restaurateurs, country club managers and hoteliers. Many of these people introduced me to others in the industry, and this network was at the foundation, I believe, of our success. In the last several years it is our relationship with club members like you that sustains me...."

Download February Notes