Note: The article excerpted below was originally published in VinePair and can be found here.
“25 of the Best Red Blends”
by Keith Beavers
Bordeaux, Chianti, Rioja, the U.S. — hell, the entire new world of wine is centered around red blends. Although blending red grapes has been part of wine since antiquity, the category dubbed “red blends” is a relatively new phenomenon. So, how do we define what qualifies as a red blend?
In Europe, even though there are a lot of red blends, they are strictly regulated within appellations. If you make wine outside the region’s set of rules you cannot put said appellation on the label. Here in the States, and in most wine regions outside of Europe, the rules are much more lenient. A red blend is anything you want it to be without having to adhere to any guidelines. Creativity takes precedence. And with so many varieties to choose from within a given wine zone, the category allows winemakers to show that creativity. The wines often have evocative labels and names designed to linger in the memory with blends that can sometimes push the envelope a little.
Although the category has only been around for a short while, it has come a long way. The enormous number of wines we tasted this year shows us that we are just getting started. On this list, you will see wines that span from Northern California to the south of L.A. in Temecula Valley, and from the Texas High Plains to the Mid-Atlantic. This is definitely a category to keep an eye on. Here are the 25 best red blends to drink in 2023, tasted and rated.
Flora Springs 2019 Trilogy Wine Review Rating: 90
Perfect For: Dinner With The Parents, Steak Dinner, Winning Over the Boss
Drink If You Like: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon , Merlot
The red blend category is a fairly recent trend in American wine, but Flora Springs has been making wine in this style for a few decades now. Not only that, but it’s their flagship wine. They have it done to a T. This wine is deep and soulful with concentrated fruit. In the calm depth of the wine, the inherent characteristics of the two cabs come through, adding a layer of quiet pepperiness. The weight on the palate is just right balanced by good natural acidity.
Our 2019 Trilogy marks the 35th vintage of our flagship red wine, a bottling that dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting fruit from the highest quality blocks from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red wines, and we named it for the three Bordeaux varietals which made up the blend. Ever since, Trilogy has consistently earned more than 90 points from wine critics and is admired by fans both for its approachability and ability to age. Learn more about this wine.
Because the 2020 wildfires precluded us from making our flagship wine in 2020, we are sharing exceptional library vintages of Trilogy through February — the month we traditionally release this wine.
Experience the difference vintage makes and enjoy a taste of history.
Make a reservation for our Trilogy Library Tasting Flight — featuring a special selection of library wines, a vertical of Trilogy from 2015, 2016, 2018 and 2019 — complimentary for Wine Club Members.
Flora Springs Trilogy, Our Flagship Wine
Our 2019 Trilogy marks the 35th vintage of our flagship red wine, a bottling that dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting fruit from the highest quality blocks from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red wines, and we named it for the three Bordeaux varietals which made up the blend. Ever since, Trilogy has consistently earned more than 90 points from wine critics and is admired by fans both for its approachability and ability to age.
Wine Tasting in St. Helena
We welcome you to Napa Valley for wine tasting while enjoying views of flourishing vineyards and the western hillsides. Wine tastings are currently by reservation only. Space fills quickly, make your reservations today.
Can’t make it to Napa Valley this February?
Take advantage of special pricing on our Trilogy Library 4-Pack and celebrate Trilogy at home. Shop now before library pricing goes into effect.
The 2019 Trilogy marks the 35th vintage of our flagship red wine, a bottling that dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting fruit from the highest quality blocks from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley.
Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red wines, and we named it for the three Bordeaux varietals which made up the blend. Ever since, Trilogy has consistently earned more than 90 points from wine critics and is admired by fans both for its approachability and ability to age.
The 2019 is a classic Bordeaux blend of estate-grown varietals dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with a supporting cast of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Ripe and succulent, the wine sports flavors of cassis, currant and black plum shaded with notes of vanilla crème, black licorice, cola and sweet earth. Open textured with smooth tannins and a juicy, inviting finish, this Trilogy will reward cellaring for at least 15 years.
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.
91 points, Wine Spectator “A plush fruit bomb, with waves of plum sauce, warmed cassis and cherry puree cruising through, laced with vanilla and ending with a creamy finish. For the hedonist crowd.”Read more.
94 points, James Suckling “Sweetly spiced nose of cherries, spiced plums, strawberries, vanilla and lavender. Full-bodied with firm, supple tannins and fresh acidity. Juicy, fruity and delicious with pretty spice and floral undertones on the long finish.”
94 points, James the Wine Guy “…comes across nicely and handsomely…this is an absolutely luminous, beautiful wine…” Watch the video tasting notes.
93 points, International Wine Review “This is the 35th vintage of this highly successful, flagship wine. A blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Malbec, it displays a deep garnet-purple color and offers up aromas of cassis, blackberries, and dark red cherries with hints of herbs, vanilla, and baking spices. It is full-bodied and fleshy with bold flavors and excellent concentration. Velvet-like on the palate, it has round firm tannins and a long finish. This wine will have a long life.”Read more.
Grade: A & Score: 93, IntoWine “Trilogy is one of the more famous blends made in Napa and this represents the 35th vintage! This vintage is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Malbec. Deep garnet in color, mostly opaque and bright. The nose has black cherries, cassis, char, and slight milk chocolate and spices. Medium to full bodied. Medium plus tannins. Tingly acidity. On the palate, raspberries, cassis and some underlying char. Long finish with some chocolate notes. This is still young but should be good drinking over the next fifteen to twenty years. Nice on its own, this will work well with all but the lightest foods or seafood. Steak off the grill is a nice choice.”Read more.
Flagship Wines from Flora Springs Appetite for Wine “Opaque, inky garnet, almost black. Aromas of ripe blackberry, black cherry, plum, and toasty oak. On the palate, big, juicy blackberry and cherry, with vanilla, caramel, and hints of leather and oak. Rich, full body. Tannins are soft and smooth, with medium acidity. This is a big, bold wine that wants a grilled steak or lamb chops. The finish is smooth, with ripe blackberry jam, plum, and milk chocolate notes.”Read more.
A-, 1WineDude.com “A showy, flamboyant and tasty Guilty Pleasure pick.”Read more.
Flora Springs Soliloquy is named for our proprietary Sauvignon Blanc clone, an outstanding and singular clone which is entirely unique to Flora Springs. Planted in our Crossroads Vineyard in the Oakville AVA, the clone was certified in the late 1980s by UC Davis as distinct from more common Sauvignon Blanc clones in Napa Valley. The clone nearly went extinct when our vines became diseased and had to be pulled. It took eight long years – three in a lab, two in a nursery and three in the ground – but our family was able to protect and preserve this precious clone. After that, General Manager Nat Komes took Soliloquy on as a personal project, conducting numerous blending trials over a three-year period to re-create the Soliloquy wine he and his family remember so fondly. Today, Soliloquy represents our quest to create the finest white wine we have ever made, a worthy companion to our proprietary red wine, Trilogy.
Our Sauvignon Blanc-based 2020 Soliloquy is a complex, multi-layered blend of white varietals offering evocative notes of pomelo, lime blossom, apple, hazelnut and stone fruit. Sauvignon Blanc anchors the wine with bold flavor, zesty acidity and serious weight, while the Chardonnay rounds out the blend with a creamy leesy quality. The Malvasia brings alluring citrus and floral notes. Soliloquy is an impressive, crowd pleasing wine, ideal for Saturday night dinner parties with friends. Learn more about this wine.
2020 Napa Valley Vintage
The 2020 Napa Valley growing season began with a warm, dry winter, with no appreciable rain until the end of March. A mild spring season gave the vines a healthy start, and summer brought very cool mornings and warm days. What looked like an ideal harvest turned into one of Napa Valley’s most challenging due to wildfires in the region. At Flora Springs, we were not able to harvest the majority of our red grapes, but we were able to safely harvest pristine, delicious grapes for our Soliloquy white wine in early September. As a family and team, we have pledged to over deliver on wine quality for more than forty years, even during challenging vintages. Our 2020 Soliloquy is a testament to this dedication.
“…decadent and lush, this is really a hedonistic Cabernet Sauvignon, really terroir driven as well, good acid and absolutely brilliant finish. I want to pair this with grilled meat – of any sort…I just want to keep savoring this wine…”
Working as a family and team, we have pledged to over-deliver on wine quality for more than 40 years. Now this dedication has been taken up by third generation family members Nat Komes and Sean Garvey. There is nothing more gratifying to us than hearing from our customers about how much they enjoy our wines. It makes everything we do worthwhile.
While our customers’ feedback is most important to us, we also appreciate it when our wines get noticed by wine critics, reviewers, and bloggers.
Accolades for 2017 Trilogy
93 points Blue Lifestyle “Deep garnet color; soft vanilla nose; silky smooth with soft plum, toast and vanilla new oak; elegant, lush and showing spice and notes of mocha and chocolate, long and balanced.” January 2020
93 points James Suckling “A soft and fruity red with currants, chocolate and hints of toasted oak. Medium to full body. Round tannins and a flavorful finish. Nicely done for the vintage. 80% cabernet sauvignon, 17% petit verdot and 3% malbec. Drink or hold.” February 2020
91 points Jeb Dunnuck “The 2017 Red Blend Trilogy checks in as a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec. It’s a pretty, elegant wine from this estate and has lots of beautiful black and blue fruits, roasted herbs, chocolate, and gravelly earth-like aromas and flavors. These all carry to a medium to full-bodied blend that has terrific balance, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish.” February 2020
Wine time: Flora Springs Trilogy 2017, Napa Valley The Augusta Chronicle “…a blockbuster wine, bold and powerful but drinkable upon release. And with a little bit of age it gets even better. The Flora Springs Trilogy 2017 – just released this week – is 80 percent cab, 17 percent petit verdot and three percent malbec. The grapes come from three prestigious regions in Napa: Oakville, Rutherford and St. Helena.
It is a gorgeous deep garnet in the glass with aromas of plum and herbs. Among the complex flavors on the palate I could pick out black plum, black cherry with hints of cola and mocha.
The wine doesn’t overpower, though. With sleek tannins and crisp acidity the wine stays fresh and perfect for matching to food….The wine is so great now, it’s hard to imagine what it will be like if it continues to improve in the bottle. The winery says it should be at its peak between now and 2028. Besides Trilogy, the winery produces several tiers of outstanding wines. The Napa Valley series includes a cab, a merlot, a chardonnay and a sauvignon blanc. They also produce several single vineyard cabs, and a number of artisanal wines that include a barrel fermented chardonnay.”Read more.
—Dennis Sodomka, February 2020
96 points Creators Syndicate “Trilogy was one of the first Bordeaux-style proprietary blends from the Napa Valley when it was introduced 30-some years ago, and it was one of the best of the genre at the time. I am happy to report nothing has changed. One of Napa’s iconic Bordeaux blends, Trilogy 2017, is another masterpiece. Beautifully balanced, with layers of dark fruits, a note of graphite and a beautiful touch of oak vanillin, this is a wine to lay down in the cellar for another 10 to 12 years, though it is remarkably pure, smooth and satisfying at this early stage.”—Robert Whitley, March 2020
Score: 8.5 – 9 VINOGRAPHY®: a wine blog “Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of dusty roads and cedar. In the mouth, black cherry, cola and blueberry notes mix with a touch of black olive savoriness. Faint, taut tannins buff the edges of the palate, as the wine lingers with notes of olive and licorice. A blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot and 3% Malbec.” March 2020
93 points Good Vitis “…Flora Springs was founded in 1978, but its Napa Valley property was first planted with vineyards in the late 1800s so the terroir is for real (it has been replanted since). I’ve had several vintages of the Trilogy and they all deliver. Tasting note:The potent nose offers scorched earth and graphite-infused blackberry, black plum, violet, kirsch and dark chocolate ganache. It is full bodied, balancing lush, smooth and broad tannin with juicy acidity. The balance is really on-point. Flavors include blackberry, coconut, (real) maraschino sauce, black pepper, teriyaki sauce and cigar tobacco. It has a strong core of wet earth minerality. This is nice now with an hour decant, but I imagine it’ll start hitting its stride in five years and drink nicely for the following five to ten.” May 2020
Wines For The Man In Your Life South Florida Reporter/MoreAboutWine.com “Cabernet sauvignon, petite verdot and malbec got into this very smooth, approachable wine from Napa Valley. Cherry and cassis with some cherry and spice.”Read more. June 2020
Best Samples for 2020 DallasWineChick.com “2017 Flora Springs Trilogy wine — Flora Spring’s flagship wine is made from estate vineyards and dates back to 1984 when it was one of Napa’s first proprietary red blends. The 2017 is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Petit Verdot, and 3% Malbec. It’s big, bold and satisfying with notes of black fruit, mocha, cassis, chocolate, spice and vanilla.”Read more.
—Melanie Ofenloch, June 2020
Noted Napa sommelier Christina Stanley explains why she loves and recommends our flagship red wine, Trilogy.
Trilogy dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots culled from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red blends, and today this Bordeaux-style wine continues to be sourced from our own Komes-Garvey estate vineyards.
There may have been a few raindrops but they sure didn’t dampen the spirits of the folks attending our 2016 Trilogy Release Party on February 2nd!
Setting the upbeat tone were the ramp rippin’ skateboarders from OC Ramps, jumping, flipping and generally shredding to the crowd of pumped up onlookers. The lion dancers, decked out in rain-defying, bright yellow costumes, shimmied, shook and celebrated the Chinese New Year (and our new Year of the Pig Cabernet) with their traditional dance of good fortune.
Doing a little shimmying of his own was Nat Komes, Flora Springs’ third generation general manager, host extraordinaire, wearer of the Trilogy fez and mastermind behind the annual Trilogy Release Party. “One of the best parts of planning this party is deciding what special surprises we’ll offer our guests. It’s always about how can we make this event something people will remember forever…what will really set it apart?”
Nat and the extended Flora Springs family outdid themselves with stilt walkers, living statues, a cheese carver, a glass artist and a live performance by the up and coming rock and alt-country David Luning Band. The party was anchored by numerous wine stations pouring the new 2016 Trilogy and an amazing selection of Flora Springs wines – including library and current releases as well as our highly limited Flora’s Legacy Cabernet Sauvignon.
And as always, Flora Springs brought together top local restaurants to present delicious and inventive dishes, our way of sharing the celebration of our world class wine, Trilogy, with the community. We heard a lot of great comments from our guests throughout the party, but the one that’ll keep us motivated as we plan for next year’s release? “Best Trilogy Party Ever!”
See the OC Ramps team in action:
Save the date – February 1, 2020 – for the 2017 Trilogy Release Party. Learn more and mark your calendar!