NV Flora Springs Gamut Proprietary Red Napa Valley
 
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Master Blender Paul Steinauer Flora Springs Proprietary Red Gamut

Robert Parker called the Flora Springs Trilogy one of Napa Valley's most "iconic" reds. In what Chuck Wagner of Caymus called Napa's "watershed" 2012 vintage, winemaker Paul Steinauer pulled out all the stops, crafting one of the highest-scoring bottles of Trilogy in the winery's 35-year history, earning a rave review from The Wine Advocate.

About 57% of today's story is about the powerhouse 2012 Trilogy. The other 43% has everything to do with Steinauer's genius at the Zinfandel Lane tasting table, making for a Napa Valley Proprietary Red that we believe to be the richest and finest under-$20 Cabernet since Bill Clinton moved out of his place on Pennsylvania Avenue.

"2012 was a tremendous year for Flora Springs, not unlike 2007," Steinauer told us as we sipped the Flora Springs Gamut from oversized Riedel at Mustards. "Not only were sugars sky-high in our Rutherford, Oakville, and St. Helena vineyards, but we had an unusually large crop, even larger than 2007. After four straight short vintages, it felt like a windfall. Suddenly we had more 2012 Trilogy than we wanted to bottle. The question was: What should we do with the rest?"

One of the secrets to Trilogy is in its varietal blend. The bulk of Flora Springs' legendary Proprietary Red is Cabernet Sauvignon, providing broad-shouldered structure and a deep, dark black-fruit core. A splash of Rutherford Merlot adds plumpness and forward-fruit juiciness. A healthy dose of Cabernet Franc offers complex floral aromatics and high-toned lift, while a pinch of darkly colored Petit Verdot from the family's Oakville holdings imparts tannic muscle and sinew.

Curiously, while 2012 gave birth to the second-largest Cabernet Sauvignon crop in Flora Springs history, yields for the other varieties were close to the norm. As a result, nearly every drop of the 2012 Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Merlot was ticketed for the 2012 Trilogy. As Steinauer began experimenting with blends at the Zinfandel Lane tasting table, he realized that in order to make another wine of Trilogy-like makeup, he needed the pitch, sinew, and floral angularity of the other varieties.

Over the course of nearly two months, Steinauer toyed with dozens of permutations, including blends that incorporated a small fraction of his soon-to-be-released 2011s. In February 2014, he zeroed in on a luscious — if improbable — assemblage comprised of 57% ultra-plush 2012 and 43% higher-toned, finely sinewed 2011. In March, Steinauer bottled 1,000 cases of Gamut.

The Flora Springs Gamut Proprietary Red is absolutely stunning. Deep purple/black to the rim, infused with mouthwatering aromas of crushed black fruits, black cherry, and black raspberry, tinged with sweet spice and graphite. Rich and beautifully balanced on the attack, the core shows all the plush concentration of 2012, while the addition of the higher-toned 2011s adds focus and Left Bank delineation. While sufficiently forward on release for early drinking (serve at 60 degrees), don't underestimate the sneaky structure that's long been the hallmark of Trilogy. Age for up to a decade in a cool cellar. The Gamut could use a little shut-eye.



Tasting Notes

NV Flora Springs Gamut Proprietary Red Napa Valley
"The Flora Springs Gamut Proprietary Red is absolutely stunning. Deep purple/black to the rim, infused with mouthwatering aromas of crushed black fruits, black cherry and black raspberry, tinged with sweet spice and graphite. Rich and beautifully balanced on the attack, the core shows all the plush concentration of 2012, while the addition of the higher-toned 2011s adds focus and Left Bank delineation. While sufficiently forward on release for early drinking (serve at 60 degrees), don't underestimate the sneaky structure that's long been the hallmark of Trilogy. Age for up to a decade in a cool cellar. The Gamut could use a little shut-eye."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

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