2015 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir

Winery

On trying the first wine Gary Farrell made (a 1978 Davis Bynum Pinot Noir) in a wine competition, the renowned Russian-born enologist, André Tchelistcheff was said to remarked, “whoever made it, he knows Pinot Noir.” Since that time Farrell went on not only to make excellent Pinot Noir, but to play a key role in the transformation of rural Russian River Valley into a world class producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Young and self-taught, Farrell served as winemaker for Bynum as well as Joe Rochioli and continued to receive Rochioli fruit on a handshake basis long after founding his own winery in 1982. Throughout the 80s and 90s, Farrell set a high bar for small-lot, Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Though he sold the winery in 2004 (and retired from the wine business in 2013), his legacy is alive and well at the Gary Farrell Winery. Owned by the Vincraft Group since 2012, the winery remains true to Gary’s belief in vineyard-designated Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from such “Grand Cru” properties as Rochioli, Allen, Westside Farms, and Hallberg. In recent years, the winery has added more storied, heritage vineyards to its portfolio, such as Ritchie, Bacigalupi and Martinelli in RRV, as well as the Durrell Vineyard in Sonoma Valley and the Bien Nacido Vineyard, in the Santa Maria Valley. Because of variations in soils, micro-climate, orientation, clones, and age, these vineyards offer the winery the opportunity to produce wines of place and unique character. Since 2012, the winemaker has been Theresa Heredia, a chemistry researcher-turned-winemaker who arrived with several years’ of experience in cool-climate winemaking at Freestone Winery, the Sonoma Coast operation owned by Joseph Phelps. She has evolved the Gary Farrell house style toward even greater elegance and balance with such “innovative” (actually old!) techniques as early picking, extended maceration, fermentation with whole clusters and native yeasts, aging in large-sized (500 L) puncheons and even some old-fashioned foot treading. Improvements at Gary Farrell have not gone unnoticed by the press. Food and Wine Magazine chose the 2015 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir as one of the PNs “to drink if you want to be an expert,” while Wine Enthusiast selected the 2015 Russian River Selection Chardonnay as its No. 1 of the Enthusiast Top 100 in 2017. 

Wine

By sourcing Pinot Noir from seven vineyards around and just outside the Russian River AVA, the winemaker could work with grapes that matured in a range of summertime-in-Sonoma conditions, from cool but sunny, to foggy and cool to extremely foggy and cold. The result is a classic expression of California Pinot Noir that’s rich, pure and elegant, that tantalizes with bright red fruit and notes of pepper, cola, rosemary and wild mushrooms. This is a seductive wine with crisp acidity and layers of flavor that will accompany a wide range of fine meals - grilled quail, seared salmon or tuna or dishes that include cherries or figs come to mind.

Winemaking

Pinot Noir clusters are destemmed and fermented in open-top fermenters and aged in 40% new French oak for 10 months. 

Tasting notes

94 points (2015) - Wine Enthusiast. A seductive nose combines aromas of bing cherries, raspberries and cranberry with notes of spices and flowers. A medium-bodied palate shows generous red and dark fruit, wild mushrooms and forest floor. Young tannins, crisp acidity and a bit of oak support the flavors through a long finish. 

Appellation

Russian River Valley (Sonoma)

Varietal

Pinot Noir

Size

750ml

Closure

Cork

Alcohol

13.9%