A Wine Like No Other

December 16, 2021

The year 2018 marked our 40th harvest at Flora Springs, a milestone we commemorate with this special bottling of single vineyard Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2018 Celebrating Our 40th Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon.

Flora Komes, Harvest 1978, Napa Valley
Flora Komes Working the First Flora Springs Harvest in 1978

 

“Flora Dispensing Her Favours on the Earth”

“Flora Dispensing Her Favours on the Earth” originally appeared in an 1807 book on botany by Robert John Thornton. The print now resides in the digital collection of the New York Public Library.

The label is a reproduction of a print titled “Flora Dispensing Her Favours on the Earth,” created by the artist Richard Cosway in 1807. Nat Komes came across the illustration in a book given to his grandmother, Flora Komes, many years ago. “I immediately looked up the origin of this image, which captures my grandmother’s spirit so completely,” says Nat. Moved by this timeless image and Flora’s oft heard saying, “Love the land and it will love you back,” Nat decided to use this illustration on the wine that celebrates his family’s 40 years of farming the land.

“Flora Dispensing Her Favours on the Earth,”Art
The “Flora Dispensing Her Favours on the Earth” Print Nat Found in His Grandmother Flora’s Book
The Original “Flora Dispensing Her Favours on the Earth" - Now in the Digital Collection of the New York Public Library
The Original “Flora Dispensing Her Favours on the Earth” – Now in the Digital Collection of the New York Public Library

 

2018 Celebrating Our 40th Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon

The Wine

An excellent vintage in 2018 yielded a big, concentrated wine with forward flavors of black cherry, blueberry, and crème de cassis that coat the mouth in luscious blue/black fruit. Hints of coffee, dense dark chocolate and sandalwood emerge in this layered and complex Cabernet, and though muscular and powerful, the wine’s silky-smooth tannins keep it approachable even in its youth. Still, this wine will reward aging for the next 20 years and should be decanted if opened within the next five. This highly collectible wine is like no other, the last Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to be sourced from Rennie Vineyard on our former St. Helena wine estate.

2018 elebrating Our 40th Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 Napa Valley Harvest

2018 brought a long, steady and near-ideal growing season to Napa Valley. Bud break began in late February/early March followed by an extended flowering period in May/June that yielded uniform grape clusters. The summer continued with typical warm temperatures but no significant heat spikes. Harvest was later than in recent years, accompanied by mild weather through September and October that allowed grapes to be picked at optimum ripeness and flavor. Napa winemakers agreed that 2018 was one of the least eventful and finest growing seasons they’d witnessed, yielding wines of intensity, concentration and balance.

Learn more about this one of a kind wine.

A Love Affair with Chardonnay

April 8, 2021

Flora Springs’ love affair with the Chardonnay varietal began when the winery was founded in 1978. In fact, you could say that it’s Chardonnay that put our winery on the map so many years ago! It has always been one of John Komes’ favorite wines, and since that first vintage, he’s made a Chardonnay every year we’ve been in business. We’d like to think we’ve gotten pretty good at it, always using the best fruit from our Napa Valley vineyards. To celebrate #ChardonnayDay on May 27, we thought we’d take a trip down memory lane and revisit some of our favorite Chardonnay milestones.

Pat Garvey First Harvest at Flora Springs
Vineyard Manager Pat Garvey watches as our first Chardonnay grapes are processed
Our first vintage of Napa Valley Chardonnay
Our first vintage of Napa Valley Chardonnay
Matriarch Flora Komes Overseeing Harvest
Matriarch Flora Komes oversees our first harvest

 

Our Napa Valley Chardonnay Gets the Gold!

Back in the 1970s and 80s, the highest accolade a winery could earn was a Gold Medal from a wine competition. Our 1979 Napa Valley Chardonnay won a Gold at the prestigious Los Angeles County Fair in 1980. The recognition put Flora Springs on the map, and made everyone, including ourselves, take our winemaking a little more seriously

 

Full Steam Ahead

“With that surprising win, what had begun as a hobby was becoming a business, and Flora Springs went full steam ahead with producing the very best wines possible.”

Flora Springs News Article

 

A “First Growth” Chardonnay

In 1990 Wine Spectator columnist James Laube published California’s Great Chardonnays, recognizing Flora Springs Chardonnay as one of the state’s “First Growths” for the varietal.

James Laube California's Great Chardonnay

 

A Wine for the White House

Over the years Flora Springs Chardonnays have been served at dinners at the White House and the U.S. Capitol, functions attended by heads of state, congressmen and women and government dignitaries.

White House Menu

 

The Legacy Continues

Today we make three Chardonnays, our Flora’s Legacy Chardonnay, the Family Select Chardonnay, and our Jon Nathaniel Lavender Hill Chardonnay, all sourced from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. While they differ, each one carries the signature style for which we are known: beautiful forward fruit aromas and flavors, rich body and texture from barrel aging and lees stirring, partial malolactic fermentation, and just the right amount of acid to keep the wines fresh and perfectly balanced.

Napa Valley Chardonnay Bottles

 

Recent Press

“9 Places to Taste Excellent Napa Valley Chardonnay” by NapaValley.com
“While officially founded in 1978, grapes were first planted on this St. Helena property, located at the foot of the Mayacamas, in the late 1800s, which marked the start of Flora Springs’ fascinating history. The winery produces several different chardonnays, each with a unique flavor profile, from the juicy and tropical Family Select Chardonnay to the limited-production Flora’s Legacy Chardonnay, made from a barrel selection of the finest chardonnay of the vintage, in honor of Flora Komes, the inspiration for the winery.

Insider Tip: Flora Springs feels so strongly about the quality of their chardonnay and other white wines that the winery has been a leading proponent of the movement to introduce the #whitewineemoji.” Read the full article.


Shop now, order deadlines for delivery by Mother’s Day start April 28 and for #ChardonnayDay start May 13. See details and shipping times.

Harvest 2018: Update #3 from Winemaker Paul Steinauer

October 10, 2018

Looking out across the Flora Springs Estate on this warm and sunny day, one would never know that fires were ravaging through parts of the Napa Valley just a year ago. From our vantage point, all appears to be as it always has been – green, lush and beautiful as always…something we often take for granted, but something we were reminded last year, that we shouldn’t.

Napa Valley Grape Harvest

As noted in previous updates, we didn’t have a crystal ball but we completed harvest on October 7th last year – the day before the fires began. This year, we are currently about one-third of the way through harvest. Last year we experienced several heat waves that sped things up a bit, while this year we have experienced a nice, consistent temperature range. We did see a small amount of rain last week, but fortunately it came and went without any effect on the vineyards.

In regards to harvest dates, people often ask, “Is this an average harvest?” or “Is this a “normal harvest?” However, “average” and “normal” are not necessarily synonymous. Average is a term that can be quantified. That is, if you have four decades of harvest dates, you can simply divide by 40 and find your average harvest date. But, normal depends on who you ask – and how long they have been farming grapes, and the conditions in which they have been doing it.

As you know may know, we sell a lot of our fruit to other wineries. Some of the newer wineries have only experienced harvests during the drought years, so their version of normal has been marked with early harvest dates and early completion dates. But if you ask someone who has been around for a while, you’ll hear a different definition of normal. Prior to 2008 for instance, very seldom – if ever, were grapes harvested before Labor Day, and seldom – if ever – was harvest completed before Halloween. So while we are only one-third of the way through harvest, it’s really more of the “normal” for us, if you don’t take into account the recent years of drought.

We have completed harvesting most all of our whites at this point: 100% of Pinot Grigio, 100% of Chardonnay and 96% of Sauvignon Blanc. We left a small amount of our Sauvignon Blanc on the vine to make a late harvest wine.

We will have pressed off all of the reds we have received thus far – Merlot and Sangiovese – prior to harvesting our next grapes on Monday. We will be receiving the first of our Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon starting next week.

Flavors are really starting to develop in the vineyard, and we’re looking forward to making some outstanding wines with what Mother Nature delivers!

Harvest 2018: Update #2 from Winemaker Paul Steinauer

September 18, 2018

Tuesday, September 18th, 2018 was a day of “firsts” at Flora Springs: the first day we harvested Chardonnay as well as the first day of harvesting reds. We hand-picked our Lavender Hill block of Chardonnay in Carneros in the morning. The ½ ton bins were delivered to the winery where the juice was pressed out of clusters. The fruit tasted terrific! It’s very tropical, with nice apple and pear characteristics and a good acid balance.

Napa Valley Grape Harvest
Just-picked Chardonnay fruit about to be pressed

 

Napa Valley Grape Harvest
Skins, stems and seeds left over after the Chardonnay has been pressed

The Chardonnay juice resided in a holding tank at 45°F for 24 hours, and then we moved it to another tank and inoculated it with yeast. Once fermentation gets going we’ll move the juice to various fermentation vessels, including puncheons (a large 130-gallon oak barrel), standard 60-gallon oak barrels, as well as concrete eggs, which some of you may have seen in our cave. We ferment our Chardonnay at cool temperatures to retain aromatics. It’ll take upward of three weeks to ferment the juice to dryness.

We also picked two blocks of Merlot on Tuesday, both from the Rutherford appellation: our Windfall Vineyard at the very southern end of the Rutherford appellation, and a block on the Komes Ranch at the winery’s estate, at the very northern end of the appellation. Block B of the Komes Ranch is the first block to your right as you enter the estate, and the eastern section of this block is always about a week to 10 days ahead of the rest, so we pick this section first. Like the Chardonnay, the Merlots look and taste terrific. In both blocks the grapes were very well balanced on the vine and taste fantastic!

Napa Valley Grape Harvest Merlot
Merlot from the Komes Ranch gets poured into a hopper
Napa Valley Grape Harvest Merlot
Our crew picks out any extraneous leaves or twigs from the just-picked Merlot clusters
Napa Valley Grape Harvest Merlot
The Merlot clusters are fed from a conveyor into the crusher/de-stemmer where the stems will be removed and the grapes lightly crushed
Napa Valley Grape Harvest Merlot
The crushed/de-stemmed grapes are further sorted with an “air knife” to remove any dehydrated or less than perfect berries
Napa Valley Grape Harvest Merlot
The grapes are fed through an augur and pumped into tanks where they will undergo a “cold soak” for several days

With the Merlot, we “cold soak” the fruit for about four days at 50°F. During that time we do “pumpovers,” where we pump juice from the bottom of the tank and irrigate the cap that forms at the top of the tank. This helps us get color, flavor and tannin from the skins. On the fifth day, we warm up the tank and inoculate the juice with yeast. We ferment at about 85°F, pumping over anywhere from one to three times a day depending on the stage of fermentation.

The cooler than normal temperatures we’re seeing this harvest is allowing fruit flavors to develop slowly on the vine without the spike in sugar – which is a great thing! When we can obtain physiological ripeness with lower sugar, it’s a gift from Mother Nature. We’ll have a bit of a break before we bring in the next grapes, but we expect to harvest some Sangiovese and additional Merlot within the next week. It looks to be another magical harvest!

Winemaker Update 2017 #4

September 8, 2017

Merlot in Our Estate Vineyards

We have officially picked all of our Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc for the year. We started the Pinot Grigio on August 15th, and finished the Sauvignon Blanc on August 31st.

We then started harvesting the Lavender Hill Chardonnay in Carneros on September 6th. The very next day, we received Merlot from the Estate. This is the earliest date on record for reds.

Harvest 2017
Vineyard Crew at The Estate

The last week was pretty crazy…Phoenix-like temperatures in the 115 degree range! On top of that, the valley was blanketed with smoke from a fire burning in Butte County. Fortunately, both have subsided and we are back to average harvest temperatures once again…at least for the time being.

We will be bringing in additional Merlot, as well as Petit Verdot from Oakville, on Monday and Tuesday. Then we will finish up with the last of the white grapes on Wednesday.

The harvest has been pretty fast and furious thus far – keeping things exciting. We were very proactive with our irrigation regimen before and during the heatwave, so the fruit is still in excellent condition. We are extremely pleased with the quality thus far, and expect to make some fantastic wines!

Flora Springs Featured in the Weekly Calistogan: Napa Valley Harvest Reports for 2017

September 1, 2017

Winemaker Paul Steinauer, who has worked at Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards for the past 26 years, used a saber to bless the winery’s Oakville sauvignon blanc grapes that came in Monday morning.

Note: The following was excerpted from an article written by David Stoneberg and published in The Weekly Calistogan. The full article can be found here.

The winter, with its abundant rain and the ensuing growing season that was perfect for ripening wine grapes has many growers optimistic about the 2017 harvest. For some, workers are already harvesting their sauvignon blanc and chardonnay grapes; others, though, are waiting for the first grapes to cross the crushpad…

Oakville – Linda Neal, grower, Tierra Roja Vineyard, “Yount Mill kicked off the Oakville season on Aug. 9, harvesting for sparkling wines, with other white varietals quickly following, reports Kendall Hoxsey-Onysko. Turnbull follows with sauvignon blanc at the winery on Aug. 23. Winemaker Peter Heitz writes, “The flavors are fantastic!” Flora Springs may have started two days later, but did so with a saber flourish as winemaker Paul Steinauer christens the first load…”

Read the full article.

Harvest 2016 Update #5

October 11, 2016

Harvest 2016 Update #5

“Well, we just concluded harvest 2016!

We started the harvest on Aug 16th picking Pinot Grigio in the Oak Knoll appellation, and we just finished on Tuesday, Oct 11th with Cabernet Sauvignon from Oakville appellation – so just about a 2 month harvest.

All in all, it was a terrific harvest! We experienced a very light amount of rain that did not affect the grapes at all. We only had a few days with any unusual heat spikes. We are however, very glad to be finished, in that there is a significant amount of rain in the forecast from Friday through Monday. There are many wineries that are forced to leave their fruit out through the rains, and again, a relief to not be one of them.”
—Winemaker Paul Steinauer

Harvest 2016 Update #4

October 5, 2016

Flora Springs Harvest 2016

“Well, Mother Nature once again threw us a bit of a curve ball – We experienced 3 days around 100F, then it cooled off and actually had some showers on Sunday & Monday this week. The good news is that none of that has effected the grapes to any degree at all. We have harvested approximately 80% of our fruit thus far and the remaining grapes will be brought in by the end of next week. We have a handful of blocks on the Komes Ranch in the Rutherford Appellation – Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc. We also have a few blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon at our Crossroads Ranch in the Oakville Appellation as well. We are just waiting for these blocks to garner a more complex flavor profile before we pick them.”
—Winemaker Paul Steinauer

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