Wine Time

Dennis Sodomka is a guest columnist | Contact Dennis

Wine Time: Flora Springs Soliloquy Sauvignon Blanc 2013, Oakville

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COST: $24-26

WHAT: I picked this beautiful Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc for dinner last week, not realizing it was bringing a story arc full circle.

I reviewed the Flora Springs Chardonnay back in February after the ice storm of the century clobbered us. We had been without power for days, and when things were sort of back to normal we celebrated with lobster tails and Chardonnay.

Now all of our interior repairs have been completed (some outside work still to do), and we celebrated with the Flora Springs Sauvignon Blanc, which may be even better than the Chardonnay.

This fruit-forward Sauvignon Blanc shows an amazing depth and complexity. One of the ways the winery helps the complexity along is by aging it for seven months in a variety of vessels. Some grapes go in stainless steel tanks, some in concrete tanks, some in oak barrels and some in stainless steel drums.

The wine begins with aromas of lemon peel and lime zest with hints of ginger. The palate is full of bright, fresh notes with citrus and lemongrass leading to a crisp minerality.

This medium-bodied wine finishes with plenty of elegance and finesse.

The grapes come from two blocks in the Soliloquy Vineyard, 57 percent Soliloquy clone and 43 percent Musque clone. It is amazing Flora Springs devotes this much attention to Sauvignon Blanc in the heart of Napa Valley, where Cab and Chardonnay are king and queen.

The wine proves this gamble was worth it. Flora Springs has been making this Sauvignon Blanc since 1989.

WINERY: Flora Springs can trace its history back to the 19th century, even though the winery was founded in 1978. Located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountains in the far northwest corner of the Rutherford appellation, the Flora Springs winery has involved the Komes family for more than three decades.

Jerry and Flora Komes bought an old winery where they planned to retire. Their son John Komes thought it might be exciting to restore the ghost winery and make some wine.

The whole family pitched in: Jerry and Flora Komes and their children, John and his wife, Carrie, and Julie Garvey and her husband, Pat.

The family restored the stone winery and expanded the caves dug into the hillside to 1,000 linear feet.

They named the winery after Flora and the natural springs that flow uninterrupted through the property, even during drought.

They now own 650 acres of organically-farmed, sustainable vineyards. About 90 percent of the winery’s red wine is sourced from those vineyards.

The estate blends history with state-of-the-art technology and environmentally conscious techniques. Specifically tailored stainless steel and concrete fermenters are sized to match the blocks of the nine estate vineyards. The family tried to craft each wine to reflect the place in which it was grown.

Furthering the family’s commitment to sustainability, the winery is run primarily by solar power.

Third-generation vintners and cousins Nat Komes and Sean Garvey, both of whom grew up at the winery washing barrels and sweeping floors, are now poised to take over the operations.

Flora Springs’ signature wine is a blockbuster Bordeaux varietal blend called Trilogy. They also produce a barrel-fermented Chardonnay.

The winery makes a number of artisanal wines and several single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. The Chardonnay is part of their Napa Valley series, which includes Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Merlot also is an incredible wine, with plenty of black cherry and licorice flavors.

GOES WITH: My wife, Teri, and I had this with steamed shrimp and loved it. It takes some convincing to get Teri to like a Sauvignon Blanc, but as soon as she tasted this one she was a fan.

The bright fruit and minerality were a nice complement to the shrimp and spicy cocktail sauce. We also had salads, and I had some twice-baked potatoes.

The wine would be fine on its own, or paired with grilled chicken, turkey or flounder or main-course salads.

WINE EVENTS

THURSDAY, JULY 17

Wine and tapas tasting, 5 p.m. until closing, La Maison on Telfair, 404 Telfair St.; four wines and three tapas, $25; (706)
722-4805

Wine tasting, 5-8 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; three whites, three reds and cheeses, $5 with rebate on purchase of one bottle of the featured wines; (803) 279-9522

FRIDAY, JULY 18

Wine and beer tasting, 4:30-6:30 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price dependent on flight selection; (706) 922-9463

Wine tasting, 7-9 p.m., Wine World, 133 Georgia Ave., North Augusta; featuring wines of Chile and Argentina, $15 advance, $20 at the door; reservations, (803) 279-9522

SATURDAY, JULY 19

Wine and beer tasting, 2-6 p.m., Vineyard Wine Market, 4414 Evans to Locks Road, Evans; price dependent on flight selection; (706)
922-9463

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