John Komes, co-owner of Flora Springs, may have a self-proclaimed love affair with Chardonnay, but his son Nate, general manager at the winery, is a fan-boy for Sauvignon Blanc. The Komes family have been farming the white grape for over three decades, utilizing the the two vineyards sourced for this bottle for the past two decades. Apparently there has been some talk about, and temptation to, graft these vines over to Cabernet Sauvignon (Flora Springs is well known for their big bold reds.) But with Nat’s encouragement, the family’s held back. And, personally, I’m glad they have. Well structured Sauvignon Blancs are hard to find — but with the clonal mix along with the combination of different aging techniques, that’s exactly what Flora Springs have produced with this 2016 vintage.
About the Wine: The Flora Springs 2016 Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc grapes (60% Soliloquy clone, 40% Musque clone) harvested from two Flora Springs estate vineyards — predominantly the Soliloquy Vineyard — both of which are located in Napa Valley’s Oakville.
The wine was aged for 7 months in a combination of concrete and stainless steel tanks, French oak barrels and stainless steel drums.
Flavor Profile: Pop the cork and breathe in the delicate scent of soft pomme fruits, a bit of yeast, and vegetation. The Flora Springs 2016 Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc is very near clear on the pour, settling into the glass with a sand-tan essence. As it rolls down the side of the glass, take a look at the legs — is it just a bit viscous?
Initial aromas are a combination sour apple and baking bread, lychee, and bitter perfume, with a thin — but assertive — line of acidity sliding right through. Swirl and add scents of flowers to this bouquet, adding to that perfume quality — yet there is something soft, out-dated, musky or bitter about it, as if it’s an elderly lady wearing this perfume. Bring the nose to the top of the glass to find a bit of burnt-toast-like smokiness.
On the palate, the Flora Springs 2016 Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc is soft, smooth, those fruits are not as powerful as you’d guess based on the nose. The exception is that citrus zest, which starts as tiny as a pin-prick, and increasingly expands toward an explosive finish.
There is, in fact, a bit of texture, a bit of viscosity that lends itself as a calming affect. It is the reason those fruits stay at bay and those floral and fauna notes — blades of grass, pollen, wood chips — become the star; it is the reason that this seemingly light white wine maintains a heartiness.
Food Pairing: I paired the Flora Springs 2016 Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc with a tri-color bell pepper quesadilla. What I loved about this pairing was that the combination of the different bell peppers played with the sweet and bitter components in the wine, while the cheese (in all it’s gooey amazingness) contrasted the textural element and thus paired perfectly.
Unlike many white wines where I indicate the need to bring the wine up to room temp to enjoy the differing layers and textures, with the Flora Springs expression, I encourage you to keep the wine slightly chilled throughout the whole evening. Without the chill, you’ll actually lose that experience.
More Info: I received the Flora Springs 2016 Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc as a sample for review. (Cheers Mora!) Retail: $26. If you’re a lover of “different” Chardonnay, you’ll want to take a look at the Flora Springs 2016 Estate Chardonnay. Red wine lovers, you’ll love their flagship Trilogy red blend.
For more information and to purchase wines directly, please visit the Flora Springs website.
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