Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Napa Valley
H ave you ever been on social media and looked for an emoji but couldn’t find it? Just when I thought there was an emoji for everything the folks at Flora Springs have come up with one they think you should have: the white wine emoji.
They have even developed a change.org petition to gain support for the movement. It’s gaining traction, but they’re not quite there.
It really doesn’t seem fair when there are at least two emojis for beer, and emojis for sparkling wine, a martini, whiskey, milk and every kind of food you could think of including three bowls of soup. I’m not sure who gets to decide these things, but go to change.org and let the computer gods know you want a white wine emoji.
You might need it to tell your friends about the Flora Springs 2017 Sauvignon Blanc ($26-28) after you try it. It’s a wonderful wine, full of complex fruit flavors. It seems to have more body and a richer mouthfeel than most sauvignon blancs, so if you haven’t had one in a while, you might like this one.
My wife Teri is not much of a sauvignon blanc fan, but even she loved this one from Flora Springs.
It is a gorgeous pale gold in the glass with light aromas of lemon and lime. With each sip it seemed like I tasted a different fruit, first honeydew melon, then some fig, apricot and cantaloupe with some spice and minerality at the end. The creamy fruit is balanced by a crisp acidity, making this a great food wine.
The grapes come from Flora Springs’ Crossroads Vineyard in Napa Valley’s Oakville district, a vineyard the owners have farmed for more than 20 years. Warm days and cool nights provide an ideal climate for sauvignon blanc
To encourage complexity in flavor and texture the grapes were fermented in stainless steel and then aged for seven months in a combination of stainless steel, large wooden oval casks, concrete eggs, small French oak barrels and stainless steel drums. The wine in barrels rested on its lees and was stirred every two weeks, lending the creamy texture to the finished wine.
It is pretty surprising that Flora Springs would put so much effort into a sauvignon blanc from the heart of Napa Valley, where cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay command top prices. But I’m glad they did. This is a sauvignon blanc you can really dive into.
The winery says you can drink this wine through 2021, and I’m sure it will get a little better with some bottle development, but it is drinking so beautifully right now, it will be difficult to set any aside for the future.
Remember the wildfires that swept through Napa Valley and Sonoma last year? The fire started on October 8, just one day after Flora Springs finished its harvest. So there is no danger of smoke taint in their wines.
Winery: Flora Springs was founded in 1978, but its roots go back to the 19th Century.
When Jerry and Flora Komes wanted to retire, they bought an old winery at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains in the far northwest corner of the Rutherford appellation. The winery had not been in operation for some time, but their son John thought it might be fun to restore the ghost winery and make some wine of their own.
There were grapevines growing there, so the family made wine the first year. The 1978 crush yielded 200 cases made with home winemaking equipment.
Restoring the winery became a family affair and soon the whole family was involved: Jerry and Flora Komes and their children, John and his wife Carrie and Julie Garvey and her husband Pat.
The family restored the stone winery and expanded the caves dug into the hillside to 1,000 linear feet.
They named the winery after Flora and the natural springs that flow uninterrupted through the property, even during drought. They now own 650 acres of organically-farmed, sustainable vineyards. About 90 percent of the winery’s red wine is sourced from those vineyards.
The winery hit the ground running. Their 1979 chardonnay won a gold medal at the prestigious Los Angeles County Fair.
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 tries to craft each wine to reflect the place in which it was grown.
Furthering the family’s commitment to sustainability, 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. First produced in 1984, it was a blend of three Bordeaux varietals: cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. Now it contains as many as five varietals in some years. It was one of the first meritage wines in Napa Valley.
They also produce a barrel-fermented chardonnay, a number of artisanal wines and several single-vineyard cabernet sauvignons. The chardonnay is part of their Napa Valley series, which includes merlot, cabernet sauvignon and sauvignon blanc.
Goes with: We had this delicious wine with an easy Jambalaya I made using a Zatarain’s mix, and the pairing was wonderful. The complex fruit flavors matched well with the spices and meat flavors in the Jambalaya. We added cut up veggies instead of a salad.
I have become a big fan of boxed mixes. Even in retirement I get busy and don’t always have time to cook a meal from scratch. But I still like eating at home where I can grab a wine from my cellar and eat an elegant, leisurely meal.
That’s where mixes like this Zatarain’s Jambalaya come in so handy. Making a great meal is simplicity itself. I just browned some pieces of sausage (andouille if you want to be authentic and give the dish some zip) and cut up chicken. Add the meat to the rice mix and water and cook for about 20 minutes. Then I added some peeled shrimp and cooked it all until the shrimp turned pink. You could just use chicken or shrimp if you were in a big hurry.
The finished product tastes like you’ve been slaving over a hot stove all day. I know, because I have done that, and this mix is just as good and a lot easier. Serve it with a nice baguette, a salad and the Flora Springs sauvignon blanc and you are livin’ the life, cher. If you don’t eat meat or seafood you can add veggies instead.
I use a bunch of these mixes, including red beans and rice, black beans and rice, Caribbean rice, gumbo, bourbon chicken, cajun chicken and alfredo.
The wine also would be fine on its own, with mild, elegant cheese, or paired with grilled chicken, turkey or flounder or main course salads.
Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Napa Valley