Your Tuesday wine: Flora Springs Napa Valley Merlot

prod_image1_1131[1]Flora Springs in Napa’s Rutherford district is known for highly structured Cabernets and its Trilogy blend. This Merlot, from the 2013 vintage, gives good insight into the complex, flavorful reds this winery produces off estate vineyards in Rutherford, Pope Valley and the Oakville district.

This 2013 Merlot also wears the winery’s new label and logo with an updated image of Flora — a figure honoring winery matriarch Flora Komes — holding grapes emerging from a natural spring like the ones around the winery property. According to Flora Komes’ son John Komes, it “underscores our role as a Napa valley grape grower as well as wine maker.”

In another bit of news, Wine Spectator announced in May that E & J. Gallo, in their move to expand vineyard land in Napa Valley, purchased a portion of the Palisades Vineyard from the owners of Flora Springs. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

Flora Springs was founded in 1978. It was resurrected from the remains of a deserted 19th century winery — known in the trade as a “ghost” winery — by the Komes and Garvey families. The old stone cellar today is outfitted with modern stainless steel and concrete fermenters sized to match production off the various vineyard blocks. Power is supplied by solar panels. The families are stewards of nine sustainably and organically farmed vineyards.  The winemaker is Paul Steinauer.

Flora Springs Merlot Napa Valley 2013, $30: Cedar from the oak barrels  infuses aromas of intense berries, plum, dark chocolate, brown baking spices, espresso bean and vanilla. The wood is integrated into the flavors as well, giving a spicy, toasty, smoky edge that’s cushioned with velvet tannins and supported by sturdy acidity. It has some Malbec for spice and added complexity. Grapes are mostly from the family’s sustainably farmed vineyard in Rutherford and also their vineyards in Pope Valley and Oakville. It was aged 15 months in mostly French oak. It’s still young and tightly wound, but very approachable.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at