Flora Springs Winery & Vineyards Review
Address: 1978 W. Zinfandel Ln. St. Helena,California 94574.
Phone Number: 707-963-5711
Tasting Hours: By appt.
Region: Napa Valley AVA, Rutherford AVA, California
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
Review Date: 10/24/2015
Reviewer: Elizabeth Smith
In 1978, thirty-seven years ago, Jerry and Flora Komes discovered an old ghost winery property just south of Saint Helena and founded what would become Flora Springs. Under the leadership of Jerry and Flora’s children, John and Carrie Komes and Julie and Pat Garvey, Flora Springs has grown into Napa Valleys third largest, family owned and operated winery. The third generation, Nat Komes and Sean Garvey, will lead the winery into the next era of family winemaking.
Flora Springs produces around 50,000 cases and has nine estate vineyards across Napa Valley totaling 650 acres, including Cypress & Palisades Ranch, P&J Vineyard, Komes Ranch, Garvey Family Vineyard, Bella Oaks Vineyard, Crossroads Ranch, Kairos Vineyard, Lavender Hill Vineyard, and Sunset Knoll Vineyard. The winery produces a number of varietal wines, including cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, malbec, merlot, petit verdot, pinot grigio, pinot noir, sangiovese, and sauvignon blanc, as well as some blends. The winery uses sustainable vineyard practices and most of their vineyards are now organically farmed. Flora Springs also uses solar power at the estate.
My friend and I arrived for a 2:00 p.m. estate tour and tasting ($45 per person) along with two other couples, wine club members, and were welcomed by Karl, our host, with a taste of sauvignon blanc. The tour is billed at 90 minutes. However, Karl pulled out all of the stops, and we had fabulous visit of two and a half hours. He led us into the tasting room area inside one of the propertys historical buildings where there were displays and stories shared about the legacy of Flora Springs. While in that building, Karl gave us a taste of the 2014 Floras Legacy Chardonnay, a small-production, limited-edition wine. As we headed outside, Karl poured us a taste of the 2013 Ghost Winery Malbec and showed us the estate vineyard, including where the malbec grows. Next, we took a tour of the barrel cave. Along the way, Karl gave us a lesson in the difference between American and French oak treatment by showing us wood samples, then serving us tastes of cabernet sauvignon from both barrel types. We headed back outside for another glimpse of the property, and Karl led us to a beautifully decorated table for the rest of our tasting, which included samples of 2013 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Trilogy (Bordeaux-style red blend), 2012 Holiday Cabernet Sauvignon, 2012 Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2012 Windfall Merlot. He also gave us a sneak peek of the newly designed 2013 Trilogy label and bottle.
As to the wines, my personal favorites were the 2013 Ghost Winery Malbec and 2012 Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon. The malbec is lovely with intoxicating floral aromatics and a palate explosion of black fruits, mocha, and baking spices. The cabernet sauvignon, which has an alternate name among the staff (ask Karl about it when you visit), is a Clone 4 cabernet that comes from a 15-acre parcel in the Oakville appellation. Only 481 cases produced, this wine reflects its Oakville terroir, with dusty tannins, a mélange of red and black fruits and what I would call holiday spices, like cinnamon and clove.
Two and a half hours into our visit, Karl was still going strong, demonstrating his great love for Flora Springs and Napa Valley. Throughout the experience, he proved himself to be quite the educator, storyteller, and comedian. As an ambassador of the winery, he was the consummate guide, and Flora Springs itself, the consummate host estate.