Sunday, March 18, 2012
An Afternoon At Flora Springs Estate
My recent voyage to the Napa Valley has produced many milestones for me. One of my goals was to visit wineries I was unfamiliar with. One of the wineries I had always wanted to visit in the past was Flora Springs. With roots firmly planted in the Napa Valley and a rich family-owned history, Flora Springs painted a beautiful picture of what I loved most about the valley--the family tradition. A week before my trip, the winery's Director of Hospitality & Social Media, Margaret Meraz, reached out to me and invited me, along with a small group of my close friends, to a luncheon and tour of the family's estate in St. Helena. I was thrilled! It would be my most memorable event and a turning point in my wine journey. A real "A-HA!" moment!
The anticipation was killing me as we drove up tiny little Zinfandel Lane towards the breathtaking estate! Once we arrived, we began by gathering outside and our tour host, Travis, poured us all a glass of the most delicious Sauvignon Blanc I've had in a very long time, the 2010 Flora Springs "Soliloquy". I couldn't get enough of the melon and citrus and it has definitely become a favorite at a wonderful price! ($20) Travis is a gracious host and his enthusiasm and knowledge of the winery is impeccable! It was one of the most enjoyable tours I'd ever done! As we sipped our "Soliloquy", our chef came out and served us some nice little bites to go with the wine.
As we stood outside, Travis gave us a little bit of history surrounding the estate. I was thrilled to find out that the estate's matriarch, Flora Komes, had just celebrated her 100th birthday back in October! Now that is longevity! (Must be all that fabulous wine!). The winery has been in operation since 1978, founded by Flora's children, John Komes and Julie Garvey. Today, both families are still operating the winery and have painstakingly preserved the heritage and tradition for future generations. Organically-farmed vineyards and traditional winemaking techniques are what this family is all about.
As we walked through the caves, I spied something I had never seen before and had to ask. Apparently, unbeknownst to me, years and years ago, some winemakers would ferment white wines in concrete. Flora Springs has some egg-shaped concrete containers they do some fermentation in. I guess this method is making a slow comeback!
We also did a little "workshop" where we sampled red wines macerated in different types of oak, American and French (as shown in the photo below). Interesting to taste the difference, side by side!
After our educational and entertaining tour, we sat down for a gorgeous luncheon of baby spinach salad, pork tenderloin with creamy polenta and for dessert, dark chocolate cupcake with blackberry jam--all made on the premises! Each course was served with one of their signature wines: 2010 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay, 2009 Trilogy and the 2008 Rennie Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.
The three wines we had with the luncheon were perfectly paired! The 2010 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay was creamy with a lovely nutty finish ($35). The 2009 Trilogy is a flagship meritage blend for Flora Springs. Made up of four Bordeaux varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, it was amazing with the pork tenderloin! ($65)
The 2008 Rennie Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon was a powerhouse! 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from their St. Helena vineyards and aged 23 months in new French oak. Huge, huge flavors and just a marvel of a wine! I have been extremely impressed with a lot of the valley's 2008 vintage I've sampled so far and this wine was exceptional. I highly recommend it! ($100)
I felt like a queen sitting at this table with these remarkable women I call my close friends and I remember thinking, "This is what life should be all about!" Those memorable moments you make sharing great wine and food with your close friends and family! This experience really changed the way I was looking at my life and I realized that day what I wanted to do and how I wanted to spend my life going forward. It was just an exciting afternoon full of joy! We even got a glimpse of the season's first wildfire in Soda Canyon!
I would like to thank Margaret Meraz for putting on such a beautiful event for us! Your friendship and graciousness is much appreciated and I look forward to many years of friendship to come! You are awesome! Margaret gave us all goody bags on our way out. In addition to some fun information about the winery and some cute logo trinkets along with a book of photos commemorating Flora's life, we each received a bottle of the 2010 Flora 1911 Sauvignon Blanc, a special commemorative bottling in honor of Flora Komes' 100th birthday! It is available on their website and at the winery for $25. I can't wait to try it!
Thanks to the wonderful staff at Flora Springs Estate for your great hospitality and for sharing your history with us on such a great afternoon! I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this day!
Flora Springs Estate is open by appointment. They have many tour, tasting and dining options available. (Our tour, tasting and luncheon was put on as a special trade event for us.) To experience them for yourselves, please contact Margaret Meraz at the estate. More information is available on the winery's website: florasprings.com. Flora Springs also has a tasting room in St. Helena on Hwy 29.
I can't wait to come back!!!
"You Saw It Here First"...This post was created solely for "Cellarmistress' Cellar Talk" by Grace Hoffman. Grace is an Italian-born, American-bred wine blogger/educator with an all-consuming passion for wine and all it encompasses.