Flora Springs Estate is located about 10 minutes from their tasting room at the end of West Zinfandel Lane. The estate dates from 1978 and is perched right where the hillsides leave the valley floor – there are great views. The winery is owned by the Komes family; Flora was John’s mother and Springs refers to the natural springs on site. Enter under their large arched sign over a bridge and head to the right, from here it is a short drive to the estate. We were here for one of their 10 annual summer lunches and tours with the owner John Komes. The entire event took about 2.5 hours; their normal tours usually last 90 minutes.
The meal seemed to be popular for attractive young people trying to meet other attractive young people but there were all ages present. John is definetely one of the best story tellers in the valley and part of the attraction of this event is listening to him talk! While in the caves we sampled several different wines – just barely getting our teeth wet with their rosato. Then we sampled the same wine being aged in three different oak barrels including American, Hungarian & French. If you have never tried this before there is a huge difference between all three in the nose, the flavors and the overall characteristics of the wine. The type of Oak used has a major effect and when you add the variable of different coopers and different forest sources, additional aspects are also brought to the wine.
Lunch is in their courtyard built over an old tennis court; artistic vines made of steel line the front of the courtyard and beyond those lies the sea of the real vines in all directions. We had wine paired with each of our four courses. The two highlights for us were their Holy Smoke Cabernet Sauvignon and their Trilogy blended wine. Both have all the characteristics a smooth velvety high quality Napa red wine should have. After the delicious meal (Cucumber Sorbet, Lavender scented Bistro filet – well you get the idea!) John took time to pose with guests for photos and walked around the large table to meet everyone, one on one.
One of his stories involved a friend who called him many years ago from nearby Pope Valley very excited as he saw a huge pig on site. He asked John’s permission to kill the animal and John finally relented so his friend drove all the way back to Napa to get his gun and then back up to the property where the big pig was still in the same spot. His friend then killed the animal. About an hour later John received a phone call from one of his neighbors who said “John, what the hell is going on up here, someone just shot my pet pig”. So, one of their wines is now named the Wild Boar Cabernet! Visit: www.florasprings.com
NOTE: This review has been identified as needing a major update.