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© 1998 JDM Enterprises
All Rights Reserved


by Jerry D. Mead

For nearly 20 years, this family owned winery in Napa Valley has grown exceptional grapes and made premium wines, both red and white. Now they've added pink, and that's a big part of today's story.

Located in a refurbished, century old winery building, Flora Springs is one of those wineries with a fine reputation, but that is better known by critics, the trade and collectors than by the general public.

Flora Springs has good but limited national distribution and winery visits are by appointment only. For help in tracking down the wines reviewed today contact: Flora Springs, 1978 W. Zinfandel Lane, St. Helena, CA 94574 (707) 963-5711.

Flora Springs 1996 "Napa-Barrel Fermented" Chardonnay ($23) Subtle toast and smoke; good fruit; apple and tropical flavors. Lean and serious in style with a toasty and complex aftertaste with some lemon-citrus crispness. A good companion to swordfish or halibut. Rating: 89/84

Flora Springs 1996 "Napa Carneros" Chardonnay ($25) Very rich and intense with tropical fruit leaning to butterscotch. Very mouthfilling and viscous. Less suited to accompanying food, but dandy as a cocktail substitute and probably more likely to win medals for its show-off style. For food, try lobster. Rating: 91/84

Flora Springs 1997 Pinot Grigio ($12) One of three Italianate varieties made by Flora Springs, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It is very atypical in appearance, style and structure, none of which prevents it from being tasty and pleasant. It has never seen wood, yet it is rich and golden (almost bronze) in color, with ripe, almost overripe, flavors, and finally showing some of the flinty, minerally flavors one might expect in the finish. I'm not at all sure what I'd want to drink it with. Rating: 82/84

Flora Springs 1996 "Napa Carneros" Pinot Noir ($25) A variety the winery has not previously been noted for (well, the 1995 received some good reviews), it is really deep and intense for Carneros fruit, which is so often lighter and almost Beaujolais-like. Intense blueberry fruit with some kind of floral perfume that you can actually pick up both with the nose and in the aftertaste, plus earthy complexities that makes for Burgundian overtones. It is very youthful and will definitely improve with five years or more of cellaring. Try it with prime rib, tuna, sweetbreads or duck. Rating: 96/84

Flora Springs 1996 "Napa" Merlot ($18) One of the "biggies," as Merlots go. Big, highly extracted, black cherry flavor with some plum notes. Round, but with enough backbone and just a touch of astringency to see it improve with five years or more cellaring. Rating: 92/88

Flora Springs 1997 "Napa" Sangiovese Rosata ( $12) This is only the second perfect score I've given this year and the first time I've ever given such a score to a Rose. But this wine is everything you could ever ask a Rose (called Rosata here, because it's made from an Italian grape variety) to be. Really pretty, concentrated, strawberry juice color, with fairly intense strawberry and cherry fruit flavors. It's dry, but not austere, all the way to the finish. Because it's dry, it's a great summer refresher, picnic wine and a dandy food companion. It will be great with ham, turkey, a joint of chicken or maybe a Cobb salad. Rating: 100/90


It was just about 18 months ago that a tragic fire destroyed the tasting room and part of the wine storage area of Pedrizzetti Winery in Morgan Hill, California.

Ed & Phyllis Pedrizzetti have operated the small enterprise in Santa Clara County since 1968, having taken over the post-Prohibition era winery from Ed's father. Their best wines have always been red and my favorite of those has usually been the Petite Sirah. Pedrizzetti wines aren't aimed at collectors, but at wine drinkers who want to put something good on the table at an affordable price.

The grand reopening is scheduled for mid-June (or as soon as the carpenters finish) and you can write or call for details and/or to request the winery's free newsletter: Pedrizzetti Winery, 1645 San Pedro Ave., Morgan Hill, CA 95037 (408) 779-7389.


The West Coast Wine Competition awards will be available in booklet form (they are also available on the Web at: and we have a small supply. The booklet is provided free by the organizer, but please send $1 to cover postage and handling to: West Coast Wine Winners, Box 1598, Carson City, NV 89702.


Harvey's Dune ($13) A fino pale dry Sherry in a handsome, almost triangular bottle, featuring a glazed sandpiper design. The Sherry inside is quite pleasant with appealing nutty oxidation and more fruit than most dry Sherries. There's a slight hint of anise in the after-flavor. If you think Sherry is only for aperitif or in front of a winter's fire, then try this one on the rocks. Rating 89/88

Harvey's Club Medium Dry Sherry ($13) Fruity and very nutty flavors and about 3.5 percent residual sugar. Serve well chilled as a casual sipper, or match it with spicy cuisine. I had it with Cajun prawns. Rating: 88/88

Harvey's Isis Pale Cream Sherry ($13) True Sherry flavors with noticeable but not cloying sweetness. The summertime, day time answer to Bristol Cream. Serve well-chilled or on the rocks and experiment with lemon, lime or orange twists. Rating: 86/88

Wines are scored using a unique 100 point system. First number rates quality; second number rates value.

© 1998 JDM Enterprises. All Rights Reserved
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