Description 1 of 1
The appropriately named Flora, a cross of Gewürztraminer and Semillon, was developed by Dr. Harold Olmo, UC Davis’ legendary geneticist, as an aromatic varietal suitable for the hot growing conditions of California’s prolific Central Valley. The grape succeeded on the aromatic side of the equation, but has largely proven unsuccessful in warmer climes due to its inability to retain acidity in these conditions.
Ultimately failing to prove its worth as a suitable grape for the blended jug wine industry, Flora has demonstrated its potential as a varietal in the cooler conditions of New Zealand, where it is known to have produced some critically applauded and stylish wines in the 1970s. Unfortunately, Flora’s aromatic and full bodied wines seemed out of place with the popular market taste of the day. Failing to meet with widespread appeal Downunder, the variety was largely forgotten about until it resurfaced more than two decades later.
In the state where it originated, beginning in the early 70s, Schramsberg Vineyards utilized Flora to excellent success for an aromatic and soft sparkling labeled as Cremant – one of the preferred bubblies of former presidents Reagan and George Bush Sr.
In the new millennia, with a renewed enthusiasm for matching grapes to the appropriate climate, there is great potential and growing opportunity for Flora in appellations with moderate climates such as Mendocino’s Yorkville Highlands.
Miss Flora you’re a pretty California girl who’s inherited the best attributes of your famous parents – the spicy floral perfume of Gewurztraminer and the full curvaceous body of Semillon. But remember to mind the hot Central Valley sunshine, my dear, for over indulgence does turn those attractive curves into flab.
Trotting the globe in the seventies, you found yourself in New Zealand where the cool clime befitted your gregarious personality. But it seems that your aromatic headiness and lush figure were far too expressive for the Kiwi taste of the day and you slipped into obscurity. An eventual return to your home state would see you acknowledged by California’s wine elite with a sparkling performance in Schramsberg Cremant – a celebrated ensemble piece. At the end of the day, Miss Flora, it would appear that you do have the potential to become a star on California's cool coastal stages.
Varietal Character by Sue Courtney
New Zealand Wine of the Week – Description from Appellation America (view original content)
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