Chardonnay remains trusted, steady standby
Many of us have a long off-again, on-again love affair with chardonnay. It was once the only white wine we considered. We then shunned it for other trending white varietals but inevitably we’d come back to chardonnay.
Napa Valley’s Flora Springs Winery has stayed strong to its dedication and long love affair with chardonnay.
Flora Springs was one of the first wineries I visited during my first trip to Napa Valley more than 15 years ago. I was honored with a oneon-one tour, learning more about this 39-year-old icon. The estate’s history dates to the 1880s when Scottish immigrant brothers James and William Rennie planted 60 acres and built a stone wine cellar.
Calling Flora Springs Winery a family venture may be an understatement. Jerry and Flora Komes bought the estate in 1977. A year later, their children John and Carrie Komes and Julie and Pat Garvey established the winery and named it after John and Julie’s mother, Flora. Since its inception, almost every job — from proprietor and vineyard manager to general manager — has been helmed by a family member.
The character of its chardonnay has evolved over the years with many new introductions to winemaking and the world’s palate shifting in styles that involve a mix of stainless steel, oak barrels, concrete tanks, malolactic fermentation and lees stirring.
This past week I re-visited this chardonnay and once again relished in its splendor. It still offers everything we love in a chardonnay — bright minerality, refreshing fruit flavors and a simple balanced touch of oak.
Flora Springs’ Family Select Chardonnay is sourced entirely from the family’s sustainably farmed, estateowned vineyards in Oakville and Carneros. It’s rare to find chardonnay in Oakville, but a few blocks in its Crossroads Vineyard offers a slightly cooler microclimate ideal to the varietal.
The Flora’s Legacy Chardonnay is a limited-production, one of a kind wine made in honor of Flora Komes. Every year this production involves the entire family, using the finest barrels of chardonnay in their cellar and gradually narrowing it down to a blend of the few barrels the family enjoys the most.
I hope a taste of these chardonnays brings you back to why you fell in love with it so many years ago.
2016 Flora Springs Family Select Chardonnay, California (about $35 retail)
2016 Flora’s Legacy Chardonnay, California (about $70 retail)
Lorri Hambuchen is a member of London’s Institute of Wines and Spirits. Contact her at the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, P.O. Box 2221, Little Rock, Ark. 72203, or email: