For me, Pinot Grigio can be a hard wine to like. It can be so dominantly fruit forward — with its lemons, limes, apples, and honeysuckle — that it’s hard not to consider the typically dry white wine as, well, sickeningly sweet. Conversely, there are those Pinot Grigios that are so subtle, lacking any real mouthfeel whatsoever that, at that point, I may as well just be drinking water. Admittedly, my notion of Luna Vineyard Pinot Grigio fell into one of these two categories. I won’t even tell you which one because it’s a current non-issue now that I’ve tasted the Luna Vineyards 2015 Estate Pinot Grigio. Life with P.G. just got real.
Flora Springs winery was established by John and Carrie Komes and Julie and Pat Garvey in 1977. But, as anyone at the winery will tell you, the property as a vineyard has history dating back to the early 1800s when Napa was just forming its roots as a California wine region. So the families already had a jump start on success by purchasing fertile land perfect for crafting what they’d soon be known for — Bordeaux blends. 1984 marks the first vintage of Flora Spring’s now infamous flagship blend, Trilogy — originally a traditional Bordeaux-inspired red wine consisting of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc, but today taking on a more modern, California approach blending together up to 5 Bordeaux varietals (including the addition of Malbec and/or Petite Verdot in certain vintages). The 2014 vintage marks the 30th anniversary for the flagship blend and it just so happens to coincide with the winery’s 40th anniversary. Quite a celebration! Unfortunately i was unable to attend the combined release-anniversary party thrown at Flora Springs earlier this month, but the kind folks from the winery were kind enough to send me a bottle of their celebratory wine.
Chateau Montelena is probably most noted for their Chardonnay, which won the Judgment of Paris in 1976. The winery itself has changed hands several times since then, but the great Chateau still stands (though it’s become a bit of a tourist trap) in the great grape-land that is Napa Valley. And they still, of course. produce exquisite Chardonnay.
It may seem trite to some big name bloggers to feature a “celebrity” winemaker. And, indeed, there are those celebrities with so much cash to spend that they’ll simply slap their name on a label of pretty much any product. So, it would stand to reason that a celebrity-named wine would taste as artificial as Hollywood looks. Well, Yao Ming isn’t from Hollywood and if you know anything about him, you know that he’s actually a gentle-spoken, if not shy, individual. The Yao Family Wines 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon speaks, not of Yao’s social status — but of a young wine-personality on the brink of great ideas.
I saved this wine. Saved and saved and saved until I was so antsy to try it, I basically threw a party for it. Ok, not really. But it was two good friends’ birthday and I wanted to pour a wine that a) represents a specific piece of California wine country and a piece of California history and b) showcases all that I’ve learned and come to appreciate during my latest wine studies. Who better than Grgich? What better than a Napa Cab? Flatout — no one and nothing.