Flanagan Chardonnay Bacigalupi is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Just south of the winery, Bacigalupi Vineyard straddles Westside Road in the upper reach of Russian River Valley. The 125 acre vineyard encompasses a range of terroir, from heavier valley floor soil along the Russian River to alluvial clay loam on the rolling hillsides. The fruit is sourced from a superb block of 25 year-old Wente Clone vines located on the western slope of the site. Bacigalupi was the source of the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that, famously, beat the French wines at the "Judgement of Paris" in 1976. Bacigalupi Chardonnay has a nose of lemon zest and vanilla bean. The palate opens with red pear and Meyer lemon, and brioche toast and honey comb notes on the finish. Like well-made Chardonnay from great vineyards around the world this wine benefits from getting some air, will age for years, and is best when served chilled around 50 degrees. This wine will evolve in the bottle for many years to come. A terrific wine from one of Sonoma County's top sites for Chardonnay.
"Fresh and floral, this bold, layered wine tastes of green apple, lemon and lime, with a pleasing bite of tartness on the midpalate. The acidity is persistent and supportive of the fleshy full-bodied nature of the tropical richness the wine otherwise presents. - Virginie Boone"
- Wine Enthusiast (August 2019), 91 pts
Textured, classic Russian River Chardonnay with pleasing counterbalance between ripeness and acidity,distinguishable by underlying minerality, quality oak.
The nose is a blend of pear fruit and caramel. On the palate, these notes continue and are balanced with a hint of Rangbur lime in the finish. The crisp acidity is a perfect balance to the richness of the wine. This is to my mind exactly what RRV CH can be when top sites are well farmed and winemaking is focused.
Eric Flanagan and his family live on the vineyard property the Chardonnay comes from.
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.
The 2014 vintage is the maiden release of Cabernet Sauvignon from Keermont Vineyards. All the grapes come from their Cottage Lane Vineyard on the mid-slopes of the Helderberg. This vineyard is situated on the crest of a ridge (320m above sea level) so has aspects ranging from East through North to West. It is very exposed resulting in small vines with low yields. This has allowed them to make a relatively fine grained Cabernet, but the clay soils translate to a wine with power, tension and fresh acidity.
Rich crimson red color. The nose is a complex mix of savoury notes: crushed herbs, violets, sandalwood, leather and some lovely bright red fruit. The palate is fine and yet powerful. Lush spicy red fruit is complimented by blueberry and bramble notes. Powerful tight-knit tannin and a very linear acidity afford the wine a long succulent finish. Drink 2017-2030
All grapes used in producing their wines are grown on Keermont Vineyards. Small parcels of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. This process is carried out gently and naturally in open top fermenters using traditional methods only. This wine spent 22 months maturing in 225 Litre French oak barrels before being bottled by hand without filtration. They produced just 3654 bottles. The wine was bottle matured in the Keermont cellar for a further 18 months before release.
The season’s winter was generally mild, but became cold and wet towards spring time. Keermont experienced record rainfall and even snow on the mountains during August 2013. This allowed for good vine growth during the spring, but also increased the mildew pressure and resulted in an unusually large insect population. Fortunately neither of these had a major impact on our crop. Our soils stayed moist throughout the growing season thanks to moderate temperatures and we hardly had to irrigate at all before harvest. A series of heat waves in early February jolted us into harvest action. The vines, which had been very nurtured by all the moisture, suddenly started to show some signs of stress and we needed to pick quite a few of the blocks over a short period. The favourable growing conditions contributed to a healthy crop of 150 tons for Keermont Vineyards.
Alc: 15.0 %
RS: 1.72 g/L TSO2: 63 mg/L VA: 0.82 g/L
"This is the first vintage of this varietal Cabernet, grown on red clay loam soils at 300 metres. The vines are still quite young, but it’s a superb début, with subdued oak, savoury, perfumed top notes, fine-grained tannins and pure cassis and wild herb flavours. One to watch. 2019-25."
- Tim Atkin (South Africa 2017 Special Report), 93 pts
"The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is a new addition to the Keermont range. It comes from a single, low-yielding block, although it will not be labelled as such, from loamy soils around 300 meters above sea level. Most of the maturation is in 225-liter barrels with around 20% new oak. It has a straightforward bouquet, perhaps not quite as personality-driven as the Cabernet Franc at the moment, but developing pleasing graphite/pencil box scents with time. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp tannin, good body and presence in the mouth with that graphite theme continuing from the aromatics. Well balanced and harmonious towards the finish, I would afford this a couple of years in bottle to develop more varietal character. - Neal Martin"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #230, April 2017), 91 pts
Keermont Estate Reserve Red Blend is made from 36% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc, 10% Malbec, 6% Syrah, 4% Petit Verdot
The Keermont Estate Reserve is the winery's flagship red blend. With this blend they aim to bring to life the nuances of both the terroir at Keermont Vineyards and the particular vintage.
Venetian red in color, this wine exudes complex aromas of ripe cherry, wild berries, and dusty 'fynbos'. The palate has an array of ripe berries, cherry sherbet, crushed herbs and spices. Elegant but firm tannin affords the wine a long dry succulent finish.
All grapes are grown on Keermont Vineyards. Most of the vineyard parcels grow on deep red clay rich soil derived from sandstone and granite and are surrounded by indigenous vegetation. They lie between 250 and 400 meters above sea level in the valley between the Stellenbosch and Helderberg mountain ranges and have a variety of aspects from North East to West facing.
Small batches of grapes are specifically selected according to ripeness, harvested by hand and vinified separately. This process is carried out gently and naturally in open top fermenters using traditional methods only. This wine spent 22 months maturing in French oak barrels (20% new) before being bottled by hand without filtration
"The 2014 Estate Reserve is a blend of 32% Merlot and 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the remainder made up of Petit Verdot, Malbec and Syrah. It begins soft and shy on the nose and the palate moves to the bolder side, with dark-fruited expression and dusty, floral minerality. Medium to full-bodied, it's focused and structured with spicy tones across the mid-palate. The wine ends with focused, grippy tannins on the long finish and it should age well. 14,229 bottles were made. - Anthony Mueller"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #245, October 2019), 90 pts
The Ritchie Vineyard is one of the most famous Chardonnay sites in Sonoma County. The vineyard was planted in the early 1970’s to a Wente clone of Chardonnay on AXR-1 rootstock. It was later discovered that AXR-1 was not phylloxera resistant and owner Kent Ritchie was told he would need to replant the vineyard. Forty years later the vineyard still produces world class fruit! The 2014 Flanagan Chardonnay from Ritchie was barrel fermented in 50% new French oak and aged sur lies in barrel for 11 months before being transferred into a tank for a remaining 5 months. This wine is rich in texture with great acidity. The flavor profile shows tropical fruits and the minerality unique to the volcanic soils of this legendary Sonoma County vineyard.
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.
Betz Family La Serenne Syrah is 100% Syrah
La Serenne is the most reflective of the site/vintage dynamic of our three single-site 2012 Syrahs. Lovers of this wine know that its source, the Boushey Vineyard, is the highest altitude of the three vineyards and is typically the latest harvested. This cool site was accentuated by the cooler season and the results reflect the seriousness of this vineyard and its care.
An extraordinary, nearly impenetrable black purple color leads to a concentrated, inky aromatic impression: smoky black cherry and wild blackberry dominate, but a litany of supporting aromas is already emerging: smoke, violet, mushroom, roasted meat, Chinese 5 spice and minerals. It has a full attack on entry and a big, rich mouthfeel that goes on and on.
2012 is our 13th harvest from this site and these rows. We continue to be impressed with the chameleon nature of this vineyard, in cool years and hot, in heat spikes and cool springs: it provides us with surprises and opportunities at every harvest. While the themes of deep black fruits and pliant structure always surface, the nuance of this vineyard and its care (thank you, Dick Boushey) make it some of the most satisfying fruit we work with every harvest.
"The pure, elegant and textured 2014 Syrah la Serenne offers that classic violet and floral characteristics of the cuvee, as well as medium to full-bodied richness, lots of black raspberry fruit, fine, sweet tannin and a great finish. It’s not as powerful or concentrated as the La Cote Rousse, yet it’s a joy to drink and will cruise for a decade or more on its balance and purity. - Jeb Dunnuck"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #225, June 2016), 93 pts
Arzuaga Ribera del Duero La Planta is made from 100% Tempranillo.
Deep violet red. Clean and bright with a range of red fruits (raspberry and cherry) that dominate with a high aromatic intensity, joined by balsamic, cacao, coffee, and roasted tones. Fresh, elegant, easy, and balanced in the mouth with a lightly sweet, toasted, and pleasant aftertaste.
Fried fish, sausage, and white meats such as roasted poultry.
"A juicy, fruity red with blackberry, bark and hints of dried fruit. Medium body, linear and fine tannins and a fruity finish. Quite ripe, but a nice feel to this young wine. Better in 2020."
- James Suckling (September 2020), 91 pts