Flora Springs Chardonnay is great with lobster tail.
Flora Springs Chardonnay is great with lobster tail.

Flora Springs Chardonnay 2012, Napa Valley

Cost: $19-21

What: When the Komes and Garvey families began their winery more than 30 years ago they probably never dreamed their Chardonnay would be a celebratory drink in Augusta, GA, after an ice storm, widespread power failure and an earthquake.

That’s what it was for my wife Teri and I when things returned to almost normal except for the tree limb still poking through the ceiling of our den.

We figured after going without heat and light for nearly five days and eating simple meals fixed on the grill we deserved a special dinner. So we broke out the frozen lobster tails. That part was easy. The hard part was choosing a wine.

The wine needed to be bold enough to stand up to rich, butter-drenched lobster but not so bold as to overpower the food. And we wanted something reasonably priced that tasted more expensive than it was. (Even though we didn’t use any electricity that week, it still was an expensive week.)

Flora Sp;rings Chardonnay
Flora Sp;rings Chardonnay

Flora Springs was the perfect choice. Napa Valley produces exceptional Chardonnay, and Flora Springs has been winning medals with it since the first vintage in 1978. And at around $20 it is a steal.

The lure starts with lush aromas of peach, pear and apple with hints of spice. The wine is made in a lean style, with just a little oak influence, bringing flavors of green apples, tropical fruit and citrus. The crisp acidity is balanced by an underlying creaminess, creating a full, rich wine.

The grapes come from estate vineyards in three highly renowned growing regions in the Napa Valley: Oakville, Carneros, and St. Helena. Blending fruit from the warmer appellations on the valley floor and the cool, rolling hills of Carneros creates a Chardonnay with great intensity and restraint. The grapes all come from sustainably farmed vineyards. 

The wine is aged in 34 percent French oak barrels, 33 percent natural oak ovals and 33 percent stainless steel tanks.

The key word for this wine is balance. Everything is blended perfectly to create a balanced wine with some depth and complexity.

Flora Springs made this a special meal after a long week.
Flora Springs made this a special meal after a long week.

Winery: More than 35 years ago Jerry and Flora Komes bought an old winery in the far northwest corner of the Rutherford appellation where they planned to retire. Their son John Komes thought it might be exciting to restore the ghost winery and make some wine.

The whole family pitched in: Jerry and Flora Komes and their children, John and his wife Carrie and Julie Garvey and her husband Pat.

Flora especially saw promise in the 19th Century winery that had been neglected for decades. The family named the winery after Flora and the natural springs on the property.

Located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains the estate is in the heart of Napa Valley. The family restored the stone winery and expanded the caves dug into the hillside to 1,000 linear feet.

They now own 650 acres of organically-farmed, sustainable vineyards. The estate blends history with state-of-the-art technology and environmentally conscious techniques. Specifically tailored stainless steel and concrete fermenters are sized to match the blocks of the nine estate vineyards. The family tried to craft each wine to reflect the place in which it was grown.

The winery is run primarily by solar power.

Third-generation vintners and cousins Nat Komes and Sean Garvey, both of whom grew up at the winery washing barrels and sweeping floors, are now poised to take over the operations.

Flora Springs’ signature wine is a blockbuster Bordeaux varietal blend called Trilogy. They also produce a single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc and a barrel-fermented Chardonnay.

The winery makes a number of artisanal wines and several single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. The Chardonnay is part of their Napa Valley series, which includes Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Goes with: This is a lovely wine to sip by itself, but would also be a wonderful accompaniment to a fresh summer salad.

Tree limbs dropped everywhere in the front  yard.
Tree limbs dropped everywhere in the front yard.

The back yard was covered with huge tree limbs.
The back yard was covered with huge tree limbs.

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