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
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.
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!
Rileys Rows Rose of Syrah is made from 100 percent Syrah.
When I think about my rosé one word comes to mind: intentional. Made from 100% syrah and pressed off skins in the Provencal style this wine is not just an afterthought. Typically picked in mid-October from a cool climate site the fruit comes in with both chemical and flavor ripeness. The result is a low alcohol, fresh wine with a complete flavor profile
Rileys Rows Sauvignon Blanc is made from 100 percent Sauvignon Blanc.
Sourced from the Redwood Valley Grape Ranch Dad farms in Mendocino my sauvignon blanc is consistently a light and approachable wine with great acidity. I get notes of ruby red grapefruit and meyer lemon.
Capitain Gagnerot Clos Vougeot Grand Cru is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
SOILSChalky soil with fossils from the Bajocian era mixed with red clay and laves. Heavy earth containing iron.
VINIFICATION / MATURING
Harvested by hand, sorted and destemed.
Alcoholic fermentation in open vats, for about 15 days with 2 punch-down a day at the beginning.
Maturation in oak barrels (10% new barrels) for 12 to 15 months.
Colour : Deep garnet red.
Nose : Black fruits aromas (blackcurrant, blueberry).
Mouth : Strong structure and powerfull tannins. After 10 to 15 years of ageing, it turns to crystallized fruits aromas with a long finish.
Game in a sauce, Burgundy cheese (Citeaux)
Ogier Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes Chateauneuf-du-Pape Les Choregies is made from 90% Grenache, 7% Syrah, 3% Mourvèdre.
Located in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region in the Rhône Valley, Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes is named in honor of the small 18th century oratory (oratoire in French) that overlooks its original 49.5-acre vineyard plot. In 1880, Edouard Amouroux became the owner of this parcel, which was planted to Syrah, and contained the small oratory that had been dedicated to St. Mark. By the 1920’s the Amouroux family was already bottling their own Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine from this vineyard parcel naming their vineyard Clos de l'Oratoire des Papes. As a tribute to its rich history, the wine’s distinctive label design has remained unchanged since its original design in 1926.
The Estate has prided itself on respecting time-honored wine making traditions while at the same time, incorporating modern techniques to ensure the highest quality wine possible are made each year. In 2006, Clos de l’Oratoire des Papes converted to organic farming and uses a horse-drawn plow to till the vineyard’s soils. After the grapes are hand-harvested, they are transported to winery in small baskets only to undergo vigorous selection process with a double sorting table. Depending on the vintage, the grapes are then partially (or wholly) destemmed and can be co-fermented with different varieties in order to produce a complex and pedigreed wine.Today, the estate comprises a total of 100-acres showcasing the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region’s four great soil types: galets roulés (rounded stones over sandy clay), safres (sandy soils), éclats calcaires (limestone-based clays) and red-sandstone.
The iconic estate produces three distinctive wines – a red and white Châteauneuf-du-Pape and a limited release cuvée, “Les Choregies du Clos de L’Oratoire des Papes”, produced only in exceptional years.
The color is an intense dark cherry with delicate ruby flashes. The nose offers a selection of subtle notes (ripe red and vanilla fruit, followed by black pepper and fresh rosewood). The attack is full of fruit and spicy complexity bringing out the tannins and freshness. Fruit aromas complete the long finish.
Enjoy with caramelized spicy rabbit, duck, roasts or an autumn dish with mushrooms or truffles and game.
Rich but restrained aromas of blueberry and blackberry become riper and more preserved on the palate of this open-knit, rounded wine. Made from 80% Grenache augmented by Mourvèdre and Syrah, it offers glossy black fruit freshened by hits of crushed granite and violet. Tannins are ripe but penetrating. It should improve well through 2030. Anna Lee C. Iijima
-Wine Enthusiast 96 Points