Gary Farrell

Signature wines from the Russian River’s “Grand Cru” vineyards

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 Maker

Theresa Heredia





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Wines from this Winery

GARY FARRELL Chardonnay Russian River Selection

While Gary Farrell Winery is known for vineyard-designated wines, blending fruit from several vineyards allows the winemaker to craft a wine of complexity and nuance due to subtle variations in soil and micro-climate. A significant proportion was sourced from Westside Farms and Bacigalupi Vineyard, but Rochioli, Allen, and Olivet Lane vineyards added to the wine’s concentration and structure. In comparison with 2020, 2021 was lovely: dry conditions with moderate temperatures resulted in yields that were lower than normal but hardly minuscule. The wine is a winner with excellent acidity and structure and a dizzying array of zesty citrus, herbal, and spice aromas and flavors. Brie cheese, lobster salad, lemony risotto, or baked chicken with tarragon are among the many dishes that would pair well with this crisp, invigorating Chardonnay. 

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¥8,580 (incl. tax)
GARY FARRELL Pinot Noir Russian River Selection

By sourcing Pinot Noir from five vineyards around the Russian River AVA, winemaker Theresa Heredia can blend fruit from microclimates that range from cool but sunny, to moderately foggy and cool, to extremely foggy and chilly. Each site adds an element to the blend, be it darker or redder fruit, acidity, tannin, texture, or acidity. The result is a seductive Pinot Noir that’s light on its feet yet generous, offering layers of bright cherry, cranberry, floral and spicy notes. Although 2021 was a drought year that trimmed grape yields, it has been heralded for the quality of fruit and for being a “back-to-normal” harvest after the wildfire year of 2020. Jeb Dunnuck describes the wine as “singing on opening, with gorgeous purity to its perfume of cherry cola, candied roses, and fresh pine. It’s medium-bodied, but it fills the palate with fine tannins, a rounded mid-palate, and even-keeled acidity, with all its components harmonious through a refreshing and clean finish.”

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¥10,670 (incl. tax)
GARY FARRELL Pinot Noir Hallberg Vineyard

Hallberg is a 100-acre vineyard located in Green Valley, a sub-appellation of the Russian River Valley that locals proudly call the “coolest, foggiest region of the Russian River Valley.” According to the winery, the cool and damp summer mornings, as well as the low-vigor Goldridge Sandy Loam soil consistently “produce fruit with deep, dark color, great structure, silky tannins, dark fruit flavors and earthy characteristics.” Add superb winemaking to the excellent terroir and you get some awesome pinot! Weather conditions in 2019 led to a large crop. But with some dropping of unevenly-ripe clusters in the vineyard, the fruit came in with excellent flavor, concentration, and tannins. The winery calls this a “beautiful example of dry-farmed Pinot Noir from a cool Coastal climate.” The complex nose of mulberry, bay laurel, orange zest and fresh cedar leads to a lovely palate with flavors that don’t quit.

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¥11,550 (incl. tax)