Back in the days when John Komes was selling our first Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons, he came up with idea of holding winemaker dinners pairing each Cabernet with a different cut of premium beef. He knew what many wine enthusiasts knew intuitively: there’s simply something sublime about enjoying a juicy bite of steak with a sip of rich, ripe, tannic Cabernet Sauvignon. But he understood the science behind that magical pairing.
“The tannins in red wine are essentially attracted to fat and protein. When you bite into a steak, the tannins in the wine ‘bind’ with the fat and protein in the beef, so that the wine feels softer and less astringent,” says John.
Over time, John experimented with different Cabernet Sauvignon and beef combinations until he came up with the ideal pairing for each Flora Springs offering. For the wine in the Preferred Palates Wine Club February 2023 shipment, our 2020 Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon, John recommends a tri-tip steak. Tri-tip, cut from the bottom sirloin, has been popular in California for decades, but has also become available in other parts of the country where it is sometimes called triangle steak, Santa Maria steak or California’s Cut.
“Tri-tip has great marbling which gives it a really good beefy flavor and a supple texture, as long as you don’t overcook it,” he says. “Plus, it has the added bonus of being more economical than many other cuts of beef.”
Tri-tip Marinade for Grilling
Tri-tip is made for grilling, and John likes to marinate this boneless steak for a few hours in the refrigerator before cooking. His preferred marinade (for a two to three-pound steak):
½ cup of red wine
¼ cup of olive oil
3 large garlic gloves, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
Turn several times while marinating. Before grilling, remove steak from marinade. Cook to desired doneness (@122°F for medium rare), let sit for at least five minutes and slice. John likes to serve tri-tip when Nat and his family visit, as the cut easily feeds a small group. He recommends accompanying the meal with small, roasted red potatoes, grilled veggies, a nice arugula salad, and a bottle of his Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wild boars are a fixture in Napa Valley, and as vineyard owners we’ve had our share of run-ins with the creature, which is how our Wild Boar Single Vineyard Cabernet got its name. Boars love to munch on ripe wine grapes, and when we get close to harvest we try to keep them to the natural habitats that surround our vineyards. But if one or two have a meal on us, we’re okay with it. As farmers who depend on Mother Nature, sometimes we need to live and let live. Sourced from our estate vineyard in the Rutherford AVA, our 2020 Wild Boar offers opulent aromatics of red and black raspberry and boysenberry that melt into rich flavors of cassis, black plum and black currant jam on the palate. The fruit is joined by notes of sweet vanilla bean, coconut and toasty oak which mingle with notes of lavender, espresso and a touch of licorice. With well-integrated oak and youthful tannins, the 2020 Wild Boar is a balanced, well-structured Cabernet that will reward further cellaring. Learn more about this wine.
Flora Springs 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Holy Smoke Vineyard Oakville Napa Valley
Dark red. Shows an expansive nose of black currant with deeper notes of loam soil and chocolate shavings that are mirrored on a deeply flavored, mouth filling palate. The texture is silky with a firm structure, juicy acidity, and an overall sense of refinement. The oak is seamlessly integrated with just a hint of toast. And the finish is persistent with moderate tannins. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from a single block planted to Clone 4 and matured 18 months in 80% French and 20% American oak.
Flora Springs 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Wild Boar Vineyard Napa Valley
The Wild Boar Cab is a supple wine with good intensity of fruit. It begins with savory, earthy aromas married to cassis fruit. The attack is soft and refined, leading to a palate of dark fruit with hints of chocolate and loam. Surprisingly accessible with round tannins and a long flavorful finish. Of all the Flora Springs single vineyard Cabernets, this is the one we would choose to drink now. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 18 months in 30% French and 70% American oak.
Flora Springs 2018 Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain Napa Valley
Dark red. On the nose, gorgeous up front aromas of blackberry, cassis, and tobacco leaf. Silky smooth attack followed by a beautifully refined mouth feel and concentrated, layered flavors of dark cherry, dark berries and savory dried herbs. A youthful wine, it has a distinct stoney, chalky mineral character. Finishes with a long flavorful finish with soft round tannins. Surprisingly evolved for a mountain wine, but then 2018 was an exceptional vintage. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from one of the highest vineyard sites on the volcanic soils of Howell Mountain; matured 22 months in 94% French and 6% American oak.
Flora Springs 2019 Rutherford Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Napa Valley
On the nose, the Rutherford Hillside shows earthy, dark fruit complemented by smoky oak and cooking spice. It’s soft and silky on entry with a beautifully balanced and pure, refined character. Black currant and black raspberry show on the firmly structured and densely flavored palate, but despite its youth this wine is accessible now. Finishes long with dark fruit, cocoa dust, and earthy notes. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from a small block of vines on the northwestern edge of the Rutherford appellation aged 18 months in 90% French and 10% American oak. The Rutherford Hillside Cab has been produced as a single vineyard wine since 1994.
Flora Springs Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons
Truly elegant and powerful wines, that reflect the place from which they originate. Shop our current releases or contact us at (800) 913-1118 to inquire about other vintages.
Our Out of Sight Cabernet Sauvignon represents the best of both worlds: a wine that is wonderfully approachable in its youth, but with the capacity to age gracefully for five, ten, even fifteen years.
The secret? The wine’s tannin profile.
“The Out of Sight Cabs consistently have these lush, round tannins that make them immediately accessible early on,” says Winemaker Enrico Bertoz. “But these same tannins – which are essentially antioxidants – help the wines resist oxidation, which is what causes them to age.”
The quality of Out of Sight’s tannins is due both to its location and the vineyard’s soil profile. Situated on a gentle slope just north of the Coombsville AVA, Out of Sight is our southernmost Cabernet vineyard, and the soils are a beautiful gravelly loam. “The relatively cool microclimate combined with these perfect soils yield really small berries with a high skin to pulp ratio,” says Enrico. “This translates to very dark color and flavors that veer towards black fruit as well as those rich tannins.”
Because of the tannin profile, Enrico is able to leave the wine on its skin for up to two weeks after the primary fermentation is complete, a practice he began several years ago. This would be unthinkable with other Cabernets which have sharper, more angular tannins that need to be harnessed early on, but the technique works well with Out of Sight and contributes to its age worthiness.
Besides the single vineyard bottling, Cabernet from Out of Sight always makes it into Flora’s Legacy Cabernet and Trilogy. “It just always makes the cut,” says Enrico. No wonder it’s one of his favorites!
Planted on an oak-laden hillside between the Napa Valley AVAs of Oak Knoll and Coombsville, our Out of Sight Vineyard off the Silverado Trail is easily missed, hence its name. When we purchased the property in the late 1980s, the site’s gravelly soils and northwest exposure signaled great potential, but the tangled head-pruned vines also suggested years of neglect. After completely re-developing the property, however, our organically-farmed Out of Sight vineyard is today one of our most treasured fruit sources.
The first new Single Vineyard Cabernet to be added to our portfolio in over two decades, the wine is from one of the highest elevation sites in the AVA, and as a beautifully expressive mountain Cabernet that needs time to mellow, it’s drinking beautifully right now.
Awarded 94 and 93 points respectively by respected wine critics James Suckling and Jeb Dunnuck, the 2017 Dust & Glory Cabernet Sauvignon is a rich, layered and saturated red with aromas and flavors of black currants, black raspberries, tobacco, cedarwood and chocolate. There’s a spiciness to the wine along with hints of violets and buttery toffee.
We encourage you to order a few bottles both to enjoy now and cellar, as this wine has the potential to age at least 15 years.
94 points, James Suckling “A rich, layered red with aromas and flavors of blackcurrants, spices, chocolate and salted toffee. Full-bodied, creamy and chewy. Delicious already, but this needs time to resolve the tannins. Well done for the vintage.”
93+ points, Jeb Dunnuck “The flagship release is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Dust & Glory, which is all from Howell Mountain fruit. It reveals a saturated purple color to go with notes of blackcurrants, leafy herbs/tobacco, cedarwood, and violets. With medium to full body, a solid sense of freshness and purity, plenty of ripe mountain tannins, and a great finish, it’s going to come together with 4-5 years of bottle age and drink well over the following 10-15+.”
We’re often asked which of our Single Vineyard Cabernets is our favorite, and the answer is always the same: we love them all! But our Rutherford Hillside Reserve does hold a special place in our hearts, as it was the first Single Vineyard Cabernet we produced.
It was 1994, and in Napa Valley, wines bottled exclusively from one vineyard were still somewhat rare. But John Komes recognized there was something special about a group of vines located on the slope leading up to the northwestern edge of our estate in the Rutherford appellation. He kept the wine from this block separate, and bottled less than 50 cases on its own, dubbing it the Rutherford Hillside Reserve. John’s instinct proved prescient: when our first Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet was released in 1997 the Wine Spectator awarded it 96 points.
Five Years Earlier
1994 wasn’t the first time this block was bottled on its own. Beginning in 1989, Flora Springs produced a Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the same vines. In fact, the 1991 Flora Springs Rutherford Reserve Cabernet earned 97 points and the #3 spot on Wine Spectator’s Top 100 list in 1994.
Flora Springs’ Rutherford Reserve was the predecessor to our Rutherford Hillside Reserve. In 1994 John added “Hillside” to the name, creating the first vineyard-designated wine from Flora Springs.
The label has changed over the years, but our Rutherford Hillside Reserve is still grown on our estate vineyard in Rutherford.
The Rutherford AVA is arguably one of the finest places to grow Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, and the location of our Rutherford Hillside Reserve vineyard, on the western slopes of the AVA on what is often called the Rutherford Bench, is one of the most coveted in the appellation. Our vineyard lies on a gentle incline leading up toward the Mayacamas Mountains. Here the soils rest on a gravelly bed deposited by an old stream, providing excellent drainage. The climate, moderately warm with occasional morning fog and frequent afternoon breezes, is ideally suited to Cabernet. The combination of soil and climate results in a unique flavor profile referred to as “Rutherford Dust,” often described as powdery-soft dusty tannins with notes of fine cocoa powder.
2019: A Stellar Vintage
The early part of the 2019 growing season was defined by heavy rainfall which replenished reservoirs and gave the soils plenty of moisture. A long, warm summer featured few extreme heat events, and the typically foggy mornings set the stage for vibrant and expressive wines. Harvest was long and relatively mild, helping to preserve freshness and finesse in the fruit with extended hang time teasing out great color, structure and soft tannins. Crop volume was average to a little less than average. In the end, it was another amazing vintage yielding exceptional fruit with bright acidity and ample flavor and texture. The 2019 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is a wine you can drink now or cellar, it will continue to age through 2037.
2018: A Vintage for the Ages
2018 brought a long, steady and near-ideal growing season to Napa Valley, yielding wines of intensity, concentration and balance. Our 2018 Rutherford Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French and American oak for 18 months, offers pure Cabernet fruit centered on currant, blackberry and black cherry, with ancillary notes of brown spice, dark chocolate and espresso. It is a complex, full-bodied wine that finishes with ripe, chewy tannins. This is the Cabernet you bring out when you want to impress. It will age beautifully for at least another 15 years.
Your Cellar Will Thank You
The Rutherford Hillside Reserve is one of Flora Springs’ most age worthy Cabernets, a wine that will provide enjoyment for ten, fifteen or even twenty years when properly cellared. Each year we make a certain amount of the previous and/or older vintages available on a limited basis. Be sure to check the store on our website for these periodic library releases.
It takes a special Cabernet Sauvignon to be designated a Flora Springs “Single Vineyard.” Along with Trilogy and Flora’s Legacy Cabernet, these are the crown jewels in our portfolio. We asked General Manager Nat Komes how he and the winemaking team decides what makes the cut.
How do you determine when a vineyard is good enough to be bottled on its own?
To become a Single Vineyard a wine must convey a unique sense of place and individuality; in its aromas and flavors it must clearly express the characteristics of a particular site. Of course, the wine must be of extremely high quality. It’s gotta taste good!
How do you get complexity in a Single Vineyard wine?
The complexity comes from the site itself and in the way we blend different blocks together. Our viticultural practices are tailored to each block, allowing us to tease out the differences and distinctive characteristics of each one. That, coupled with the singularities each vintage brings, gives each of our Single Vineyard wines dimension and layers of complexity.
What winemaking techniques do you employ with the Single Vineyard Cabernets?
Our vinification is aimed at obtaining purity of fruit and the structure that makes for extended aging. We carefully hand sort the grapes upon receipt, give them a three- to four-day period of cold soaking prior to fermentation, and carefully manage the extraction of tannins during and after fermentation. Then we age the wines for about 18 months on average in French and/or American oak, depending on the wine.
What makes the Wild Boar Cabernet Sauvignon stands out as a Single Vineyard wine? Wild Boar has always been a revelation to me in the sense that I consider it to be an “all-American” wine. By that I mean it has a bit of a wild west character to it, yet it can also be polished and refined. Kind of like a well-dressed cowboy. We age Wild Boar in 70-75% American oak, which frames it in sweet, vanilla-like tannins. Although big, Wild Boar is never clumsy, but rather manages to walk the fine line between rich, ripe fruit and structural elegance.
Single Vineyard Cabernets
Truly elegant and powerful wines, that reflect the place from which they originate, learn more.
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 we 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. These wines are produced from estate vineyards in Napa Valley that our family has farmed for decades. They represent some of the finest micro-sites in Napa Valley, blocks that are so distinct and outstanding they deserve to be bottled on their own. With less than five hundred cases produced each year, and consistently among our highest scoring wines, our Single Vineyard Cabernets are in high demand.
Regarding the 2016 vintage, Winemaker Paul Steinauer says, “An early bud break followed by warm weather and spring rains brought a rapid start to an ideal 2016 growing season, one with beautiful weather from bloom, to berry set, to veraison and harvest in our Napa Valley estate vineyards.”
Our Preferred Palates Wine Club Members have a guaranteed allocation of these very limited wines. Learn more about the benefits of membership.
“Captivating from top to bottom…The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignons are gorgeous wines endowed with striking aromatic intensity, nuance and depth…2016 is second only to 2013 among the top vintages of this decade so far.” – Antonio Galloni, Vinous, December 2018