Our 2015 Flanagan Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast continued the string of “winemaker vintages” that started with the 2012 vintage. For the third year in a row, there were no damaging weather events and fruit condition was excellent. We continue to do relatively short fermentations with some whole cluster additions. The wine was aged in Francois Freres and Rousseau barrels for 12 months.
This wine is the first that includes fruit from our two new vineyard designate sites. Both Sunchase and Sonoma Stage are well regarded, cool climate Sonoma Coast vineyards and in 2014 both produced abundant, ripe, clean fruit. The resulting wine is reflective of the cooler climate sites and shows more restraint and more elegance than the 2013 Pinot Noir. The fruits are focused on black cherry and nearly ripe black plum (sweet, but crisp and not flabby). We used a gentler touch on the oak to allow the great vineyard sites and the beautiful vintage to shine through.
Ferren Pinot Noir Silver Eagle Vineyard is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Winemaker Matt Courtney learned what he knows of Pinot Noir on the Sonoma Coast during his eight-year apprenticeship with Helen Turley of Marcassin Vineyards. At Ferren he employs artisan methods crafting his wines in small lots from single-vineyard sources with native fermentation and without fining or filtration. | Falling Bright
Silver Eagle Vineyard rests atop Stoetz Ridge, the land mass that divides the remote Sonoma Coast from the Russian River Valley. This vineyard experiences both the cooling ocean breezes of the nearby Pacific, as well as the warmth of the interior valley. The wine made from this unique confluence of climates is extraordinary: the Pinot Noir a rare balance of explosive wild berry, mouthwatering acidity, and rich, polished tannins; the Chardonnay a fascinating juxtaposition of briny minerality and candied citrus. [ The late Ulises Valdez - brilliant vineyard manager and owner of this vineyard - built his family home on this spectacular site.] | Ferren
Argot Bastard Tongue Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Sonoma Pinot Noir.
Inheriting an unbroken string of success, the “Bastard Tongue” arrives fully-formed and ready to impress. Always a blend from multiple Pinot Noir vineyards, this iteration of “BT” was selected from three distinct sites, each making their own unique contribution of Sonoma County terroir to the wine’s character.
Exploding forth on a tidal wave of high-toned, intense red and black fruits, this is a Pinot Noir that no stemware can contain. The palate’s profound depth is balanced by an inherent freshness, allowing the wine to crackle with brambly energy, while sustained by bass notes of underbrush, black tea, pie spice and baker’s chocolate. A formidable rendition of “Bastard Tongue”, and a deserving successor to its line.
Night harvested by hand throughout September, cluster and berry sorted by hand, de-stemmed, no crushing. 7-day cold soaks, followed by native fermentation in open-top bins. Average time on the skins, 14 days. Aging 20 months in French oak, 100% new. Never racked prior to bottling. Bottled unfined, unfiltered.
Very versatile for pairing. Goes well with grilled meat, vegetable, fish, poultry and cheese.
"A more limited production cuvée, the 2018 Pinot Noir Bastard Tongue is a big, ripe, sexy beast of a Pinot Noir delivering loads of black cherry and black raspberry fruit intermixed with plenty of spring flowers, sappy herb, and forest-like nuances. Full-bodied, it has a hedonistic, sweetly fruited style, ripe tannins, and a great finish. It doesn’t pull any punches yet stays balanced, textured, and a joy to drink. It should keep for 5-7 years or so.”
- Jeb Dunnuck, 95 pts
Argot Pinot Noir Sonoma County is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Everything you have come to expect from an Argot Pinot Noir, shone through the filter of a textbook-perfect vintage. We simply can not get over the quality of fruit this wine displays! Intense, yet fresh; fruity, yet spicy; brambly, yet juicy; immediate, yet lingering. A Pinot Noir that displays the variety’s natural come-hither attitude, while succinctly capturing its intriguing nature. There are not enough superlatives to describe this wine. Almost too easy to love!
VINEYARD Multiple vineyards throughout Sonoma County, including both valley floor and high-elevation hillside sites
PRODUCTION 600 cases
VARIETAL 100% Pinot Noir
CRUSH Night harvested by hand beginning in mid-September, concluding at our coolest sit on October 13. Cluster and berry sorted by hand, de-stemmed, no crushing
FERMENT 7-day cold soaks, followed by native fermentation in open-top containers, with the grapes fermenting on their skins for an average time of 14 days.
AGING 16 months, French oak barrels, 7% new, remainder once-used. Never racked prior to bottling. Bottled un-fined, unfiltered.
NOTES Singularly great. 2018 was an all-time vintage for California’s North Coast, achieving rarely before experienced heights. A mild summer gave way to Autumnal perfection, allowing cooler areas the opportunity to ripen their crop while chemistries remained perfect. What arrives in bottle is nothing short of a pinnacle representation of Sonoma County Pinot Noir — profound depth of pure, red Pinot Noir fruits, caressing textures balanced by deep minerality and a quenching acidity.
Holocene Memorialis Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Holocene Pinot Noir Memorialis is a blend of 777, Pommard and 115 clones from MonksGate vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, and it saw about 20% new French oak for 16 months prior to bottling. It is always the lighter and more feminine of the two Holocene wines, with red fruits, white flowers, dried herbs, mushroom and forest floor aromatics, bright acidity and a lithe texture, long finish.
"Coming from a warmer than average year for Oregon, the 2018 Pinot Noir Memorialis comes from a west-facing hillside of sedimentary soils located in the heart of the Willamette Valley (not far from Beaux Freres and Shea Vineyard). All Pinot Noir that was 20% destemmed and brought up in 20% French oak, it shows a textured, incredibly elegant profile that has a perfectly integrated style, lots of raspberry and strawberry fruits, and classic Pinot Noir notes of dried flowers and spice. It should be approachable right out of the gate, yet given its balance, it should also evolve for 10-15 years."
- Jeb Dunnuck (April 2020), 93-95 pts
Offering up a touch more freshness and detail, the 2011 Pinot Noir Rosella’s Vineyard is also upfront and textured, with ripe black cherry, rose garden and spring flower-like nuances all flowing to a medium-bodied, elegant and textured palate. There’s not a huge amount of back-end depth but it’s gorgeous nonetheless and I love the overall focus. It should shine for 4-5 years. Drink now-2018. This was an impressive (and large) lineup of wines. Made by the brother/sister pair, Brian and Kimberly Loring, with Rachel Silkowski functioning as assistant winemaker, these efforts never lack for fruit or texture and, for the most part, reward immediate gratification. Having said that, I think these 2011s will offer a relatively broad drink window. The 2012s are more rich and voluptuous, with the purity of fruit and seamlessness of the vintage. (8/ 2013) Wine Advocate 92 Points
Flanagan Pinot Noir Platt Vineyard is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Platt sits 2.5-miles from the Coast and the vineyard cascades down a south facing ridgeline. The Goldridge Fine Sandy loam soils are the most sought after for Pinot Noir and afford excellent drainage. The wind blows reliably out of the west and provides good airflow which helps keep the grapes clean. The vineyard elevation ranges from 425-850 feet above sea level and is frequently (but not always) above the fog that fills the valley most every morning.
Flanagan Pinot Noir Platt Vineyard is a compelling expression of what is widely acknowledged to be one of the greatest vineyard sites in California. The wine has a brilliant color and the fruit character, despite the very cool site, is explosive. The nose offers a rich bouquet of ripe cranberry, cola, and a hint of spice. The palate shows very clean dark red fruit with a silky, persistent finish. Incredible acidity, a beautiful mouthfeel, and an incredible purity of fruit character make this a reference point wine.
Eric Flanagan is the founder and visionary behind the Flanagan wines and Flanagan brand.
Our journey into wine began with a love of wine and an appreciation of the places that create unique wines. In the early 1990’s, wine quality exploded higher in Sonoma and Napa. It was an exciting time to be a consumer of wines from Northern California and a great time to come and meet the vintners who were responsible for these inspiring new wines. We began in 1999 with the purchase of forty acres in Bennett Valley. In 2011, we acquired a small Russian River Valley vineyard, and, starting with the 2014 vintage, we have added vineyard designated wines from top vineyards in the Russian River Valley and the Sonoma Coast. Vineyard sources now include Ritchie Vineyard and Bacigalupi Vineyard for Chardonnay, and Sunchase and Sonoma Stage for Pinot Noir. In 2015, we will also add the iconic Platt Vineyard as a source for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. We believe that Platt may be the best vineyard in California for those varieties.
Sustainability at Flanagan:
There are a few marketing buzzwords that are prevelant in the wine industry right now that can be very confusing to the consumer. Terms like organic, biodynamic, sustainable... What exactly do those terms mean? To us, it's very simple. Sustainabliltiy means we farm our vineyards with long term mindset. We do everything we can to ensure that this land will be as healthy, or healthier than it was when we found it. We are in the process of having our vineyards certified as sustainable by the California Sustainable Winegrowers Alliance "CSWA".
Sonoma County is making a huge push to be the first farm community to be 100% certified sustainable. The CSWA program has 138 catagories for vineyard owners to self assess and then they support the process with an outside auditor. Sonoma County has hired a full time sustainablility coordinator and is making great progress towards our goal of have all of the vineyards in Sonoma County farmed sustainably.
Proprietor Eric Flanagan:
Eric came to the wine business from a love of wine. His family did not own a winery or a vineyard, and Eric did not grow up on a farm. Through his travels Eric became fascinated by how grapes of the same variety expressed themselves in different places. From New Zealand to Greece, Eric visited wine growing regions around the world, but in the late 90's he chose to create his vision in Sonoma. He started in 1999 with the purchase of 40 acres on the side of Bennett Mountain and expanded in 2011 with the purchase of their Russian River Valley site. Flanagan is now producing wines from several of the top vineyards in Sonoma County under their vineyard designate program. Flanagan is becoming known for making great wines from the best vineyards in Sonoma County.
Eric, Kit, and their 3 daughters (Riley, Lola, and Ruby) make their home at the Three Starrs Vineyard along with 3 dogs, 10 ducks, 4 Dwarf Nigerian goats, 2 geese, 1 donkey, and 1 mule (also named Ruby).
Winemaker Cabell Coursey:
Cabell joined Flanagan Vineyards as Winemaker in 2014. His obsession with winemaking began with a harvest in Burgundy while he was enjoying an undergraduate semester abroad. After finishing his B.S., Cabell spent a few vintages picking grapes and scrubbing floors in Burgundy, and then moved up to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Following his time in Oregon, Cabell traveled to Christchurch, New Zealand, where earned degrees in Enology and Viticulture from Lincoln University. During his time in New Zealand Cabell focused on cool climate viticulture, which serves him very well in his current role at Flanagan. Cabell has also held winemaking positions at Alder Springs Vineyard, Dumol, and Kosta Browne.
Cabell’s approach to winemaking is to use his senses in conjunction with his knowledge in biology, chemistry, and farming.
Cabell describes his philosophy:
“Winemaking is the culmination of a vast number of decisions. Starting with the site, the farming practice, the response to weather conditions, the picking date, the tank and barrel programs, ferment protocols, and continuing through blending and bottling. It is the daily decisions, actions, and sometimes lack of action that unlocks a vineyard’s highest potential. This quest to reveal each vineyards unique personality, while dealing with the challenges inherent in farming, is what makes winemaking challenging, interesting, and highly rewarding. My goal is always the same, to deliver each vineyard’s best expression in each vintage and to make a wine where the last glass is better than the first.”
The vineyards represents 69 acres in total:
Graves vineyards is 13 acres, planted with Syrah (6 acres), Cabernet Sauvignon (4 acres) and Merlot (3 acres).
Platt vineyards is 34 acres, planted with Chardonnay (13 acres) and Pinot Noir (18 acres) and Riesling (1.4 acres)
and Gaps View is 22 acres, all planted with Pinot Noir.
Tasting Note: This very aromatic Syrah has hints of black pepper, dark berries and herbs and a bloody, earthy character on the nose. The palate is full-bodied with velvety but structured tannins and a balanced natural acidity. The finish is fresh, long and supple. Best served at 16 to 18 °C, this wine will greatly benefit from decanting when drunk within the first 3 to 5 years after bottling.
Andrea Mullineux told me that their debut 2012 Mullineux Iron Syrah has been the hardest cru to fine-tune over the years. Indeed, it has been trialed since 2005 but never bottled...until now. "We have been working hard to perfect the acidity here and it's been important to get life into the soil, getting the vineyard healthy, so that it can be picked with good acidity. Because it is dry farmed, in a space of three days, it can god from 22 to 26 Brix – so picking decision is critical," she said. It has a subtle marine influence coming through on the nose with macerated black cherries, boysenberry jam and touches of iodine. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, quite grainy tannins, very nicely poised with touches of fig and marmalade towards the slightly saline finish. This is a strong debut to form the trio of Syrah single "terroir" offerings.
"The 2013 Iron Syrah has a roundness and softness on the nose that almost belies its complexity - red berry fruit, red peppercorns, rooibos and undergrowth scents that are very well defined. The palate is medium-bodied with ripe tannin, wonderfully savory and quite gamey, and beautifully balanced with impressive volume and sustain on the finish that you would have difficult distinguishing from a top Côte-Rôtie. This is an excellent Syrah, my only reservation being that there is a touch of heat on the finish. - Neal Martin"
- The Wine Advocate (erobertparker.com, November 2015), 93 pts
"Similar to the Schist Syrah in its weight and meatiness, the Iron Syrah offers a more elegant, immediate appeal. Dark red plum, smoked meat, and savory herbs are seamlessly integrated on a lush, juicy and firmly structured palate, finishing very very long."
- iwinereview.com (January 2016), 95 pts
Silverado Vineyards Geo Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.
In 1988, Ron and Diane Miller, purchased the Mt George Vineyard, the site of the first vinifera plantings in the Coombsville AVA. Situated in a quiet corner of the Napa Valley a few miles east of the city of Napa, Mt George is a vineyard of undeniable strength. As the 20th anniversary of Silverado’s first Mt George harvest approached in 2012, the decision was made to make a wine for the occasion. It is called GEO – Greek for “Earth” and short for “George” – and it represents the highest expression of single-vineyard Cabernet from this extraordinary place.
Aromas of black cherry liquor, crushed hazelnut, tilled earth, and dried rose petal. Decadent and rich on the palate with flavors of sweet dark plum and cocoa powder. Well-integrated tannins lead to a seamless finish.
Pair GEO with Chicken with Chunky Olive Tapenade
Black, inky earthiness defines the nose and palate, along with a round, silky mouthfeel. Cocoa and dried violets appear against a slightly dusty backdrop, while notes of leather, black olive, and slate are soul-stirring. This vintage is GEO's most elegant to date, but its robust, statuesque character remains intact.
-Tasting Panel 96 Points