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.
Flanagan Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.
The nose displays a pretty mix of violet, black fruits, orange blossom, and bergamot. On the palate the wine shows red and black current intermingled with mocha and earth notes. There is a ton of structure, and, at the same time, is very elegant. The texture feels “just right” with fine grained, supple, ripe tannins.
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.
Flanagan Syrah is made from 100 percent Syrah.
The Flanagan Syrah Bennett Valley opens with notes of white pepper, cherry blossom, and Bay Leaf. The palate has ripe black fruit, bacon fat, and Herbs de Provence with a surprising amount of tannin structure for New World Syrah. The wine is ripe and generous and retains great acids. The small berries produced from the steep, volcanic hillside site gives the wine great color and concentration. This is a wine that can stand proudly with top Syrah from around the world.
Aged in 100% French oak barrels from Allier Centre France cooperage with 15% new barrels.
"Impressive dark fruit in the blackberry zone and sweetly fragrant spices with hints of pepper and oak toast. The palate has a very supple and juicy edge with a suave, plush and smoothly delivered, black-cherry and blackberry core of flavor. Drink or hold."
- James Suckling (November 2018), 94 pts
Riley's Rows 3x3 Red Blend is made from 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Syrah, 29% Merlot
Riley’s Rows "Three by Three" Proprietary Red Blend North Coast is a great wine from some of the winery's favorite North Coast vineyard sites. The Merlot is from their Brandt ranch in Lake County…which, is one of the best vineyards in Lake County. The Cabernet and Syrah are both from great Sonoma County sites.
Riley’s Rows 3 x 3 displays a nose of ripe plum and Bing cherries with a hint of cocoa. The palate opens with ripe red berries. The mid-palate offers a delicious melange of blackberry, Rainer Cherry, and nutmeg. The wine has a long finish, very balanced acidity, and soft tannins. The wine is approachable now but will age nicely for many years to come!
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
Ottella Lugana DOC Riserva Molceo is made from 100% Trebbiano di Lugana - 25-30 years old.
The wine is produced in the area of San Benedetto di Lugana in estate vineyards that are most suitable due to the high content of white clay.
COLOR • Golden, clear, intense.
NOSE • It immediately opens with fruity notes that are enchanting, penetrating and complex. Characterized by hints of citrus fruits, flowers and fine mineral and elegant notes.
PALATE • Complex and intense blend of mineral flavors; captivating, long, lively, both in the persistence and in the strength of the flavors, mingling with unmissable citrus sensation. A delicate evolution, fine flesh, perfect longevity.
Since 2009 it has won every year the TRE BICCHIERI GAMBERO ROSSO award.
The harvest and selection of the grapes are done strictly by hand, in small 17 kg crates.
PLANTING LAYOUT AND YIELD • Double bow Guyot, yield around 8,000 kg. of grapes per hectare, equivalent to 5,040 liters of wine or 63%.
HARVEST PERIOD • Harvest late in October.
FINING AND FERMENTATION • Delicate, soft pressing of the whole bunch for most of the production, the rest with gentle destemming by oscillation. Thereafter, a strict protocol of vinification: partial malolactic fermentation, fining for 16 months on the yeast and fine lees, which mostly takes place in stainless steel tanks (80%) and the rest in wooden tonneaux and barriques.
Stimulating with marine or freshwater fish, it also goes well with savory or fatty meat (goose or pork). Enjoyable with seasoned, herbal cheeses of various types and elaborate dishes.