When we consider the potential of a piece of land to grow world-class wine, we immerse ourselves in the physical characteristics of soil type, depth, texture and drainage, slope aspect, sun exposure, et cetera—myriad complex details. On site potential alone, Jentoft likely sits at the top of our entire vineyard portfolio.
The site’s coastal marine soils are remarkably shallow with underlying sandstone bedrock poking through the topsoil. Lean, “boney” soils generally yield low-vigor vines and powerful wines, and that’s what we have here. The potential is incredible, and now that these vines are mature, we’re seeing the promise realized.
Our new vintage of Jentoft Vineyard Ryan Pinot Noir is highly evocative of this steep hillside site high in the coastal mountains surrounded by the forest. To me, it represents the essence of coastal Russian River Pinot Noir: intensity, vibrancy, deeply pitched fruits with pulsating acidity and an incredible length of flavor. We’ve bottled Ryan Pinot Noir from several sites since 2002 , and this is the pinnacle of achievement for this wine so far.
The wine opens with a sense of tiny dark intense wild berries, tart and explosive, pine needle freshness and hints of cedar amplifying the aromas. The palate is sappy, dark and elevated with Rainier cherry, cassis and huckleberry fruits. There’s laser-like intensity to the wine’s driving flavors as they expand along the dry, firm palate, exotic floral, gravelly nuances extending the lingering finish. No need to decant. Drink between 2020 and 2027.
Another Russian River cuvée, the 2019 Pinot Noir Jentoft Vineyard Ryan is a deeper ruby, translucent color and has a gorgeous array of black raspberry and cherry fruits supported by ample spice box, savory flowers, rose petals, and dried bouquet garni-like nuances. Rich, medium to full-bodied, and fleshy, with the more rounded, supple style of the vintage, it's ideal for enjoying over the coming 7-8 years, probably longer, but there's no need to delay gratification more than a year or two. - Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points
Hahn Family Wines Lucienne Doctor's Vineyard Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Located in the middle stretch of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 243-acre Doctor’s Vineyard experiences warmer temperatures and higher winds than Hahn’s other estate vineyards in the region. Certified sustainable, the vineyard ranges from 320 feet to 720 feet above sea level, with gently sloped hillsides and wide row spacing that offers greater sun exposure. The dry and slightly warmer climate here results in a riper more robust Pinot Noir, with expressive aromas of red cherry, plum and orange zest along with hints of sage, clove and white pepper. The wine has great mid-palate structure, smooth soft tannins, flavors of red cherry, bramble berries and a touch of warm spice on a refreshing lingering finish.
Strong smoke aromas surround the black-cherry, loamy soil, crushed granite and iodine elements on the nose of this bottling. Mesquite- and oak-smoked fruit and meat flavors show powerfully on the sip, which is quite savory.
-Wine Enthusiast 91 Points
Fragrant aromas of black cherry, red plum, black tea and notes of mint and forest floor. On the palate, flavors of red cherry, black currant and a hint of clove are supported by intriguing layered round tannins, lush mouthfeel and balanced acidity.
Curving along the ridges and valleys of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the Smith Vineyard is Hahn’s highest elevation vineyard, reaching 590 to 1,280 feet above sea level. Originally planted in 1974, Smith is also Hahn’s first estate vineyard, and today its 131 acres are certified sustainable. With rocky well-drained soils and eastern exposures that sit well above the fog line, this is a cool climate site with moderate wind and ample sunshine contributing to a long growing season.
A dark expression of Pinot Noir, this single-vineyard bottling shows black plum, black cardamom and nutmeg on the spicy nose. It's rich and thick on the palate, packing in boysenberry alongside minty chocolate flavors, with ample acidity and tannic tension.
-Wine Enthusiast 92 Points
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.
"Always a richer, more powerful Pinot, the 2019 Pinot Noir Bastard Tongue is no exception and gives up a medium ruby hue as well as a big nose of spiced red and black fruits, cola, forest floor, sassafras, and dried orange. Complex, medium to full-bodied, and textured, it has good acidity and balance, yet there's no reason to hold off, as it's drinking beautifully today.”
- Jeb Dunnuck (September 2021), 94 pts
In the far northwest corner of the Sonoma Coast appellation, near the town of Annapolis, the vineyard sits just five miles from the Pacific Ocean, and provides a poignant setting for producing pinot noir with elegance, great precision, and intensity.
-James Suckling 97 Points
- Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points
Hamilton Russell Vineyards Bramble Hill Pinot Noir is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Hamilton Russell Vineyards in South Africa has developed an international reputation over 40 vintages for unusually restrained, classically styled Pinot noir, with deep structure and spice balancing fruit opulence. Hamilton Russell Oregon aims to express this stylistic philosophy with the very best Willamette Valley fruit - showcasing the restrained, structured classicism of great European Pinot noir and the bright purity of Oregon fruit. The celebrated Bramble Hill vineyard in Ribbon Ridge, delivers a particularly bright, pure, lively minerality to complement the complex lifted fruit the best Oregon Pinot noir is known for.
Limpid ruby-red. Fresh red berries, blood orange, floral and baking spice qualities on the incisive nose. Juicy, focused and lithe on the palate, offering subtly sweet raspberry and cherry flavors and building spicecake and cola nuances. Closes long and nervy, with discreet tannins framing repeating floral and spice notes.
-Vinous 93 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.
A deep powerful Gran Reserva from one of Rioja Alavesa’s most enduring family run wineries. The hillside terraced vineyards are sheltered by the Sierra Cantabria Mountains to the north from harsh weather extremes. Small plot production is utilized in this region of infertile chalky clay soil to produce clusters of excellent quality. Almost 900 plots are needed to complete the approximately 400 hectares of estate-owned or cellar-controlled vineyards, some with vines more than 100 years in age.
Ruby red color with earthy tones. The wine shows finesse, elegance and complexity with good concentration of black fruit, thyme and rosemary with secondary aromas of leather and tobacco leaves. In the palate it is polished and rounded, making it pleasant and easy to drink. Fleshy with both elegance and power. It has touches of black fruit jam and liquorice. A long, delicious and persistent finish.
Suitable for pairing with a long, copious meal where it can accommodate braised vegetables, cold cuts, peppers stuffed with hake and shrimp, mushroom omelettes, cod Rioja style, both red and white meat... and so on.
Damilano Marghe Nebbiolo Langhe
Ruby red with soft garnet reflections, the bouquet has very typical delicate notes reminiscent of violet and red fruits. The wine finishes dry, rightly tannic, with a velvety, harmonic full body.
Lean, compact and even a little spicy on the close, the Damilano 2019 Langhe Nebbiolo Marghe is an accessible, easy-drinking wine that is loaded with lots of fun varietal character. Wild rose, cassis, cherry and pencil shavings are part of that playlist. The wine's lean texture, its primary fruit and its freshness give Marghe its food-friendly edge. Best After 2022
-Wine Advocate 91 Points