The renowned Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery is located in California’s Russian River Valley. This picturesque, redwood-studded wine region is 55 miles north of San Francisco where the mighty river cuts a scenic swath through the heart of Sonoma County. It has a characteristically cool climate that is affected by the fog that rolls in from the Pacific Ocean. The Russian River Valley is known for outstanding cooler climate varietals, particularly Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
The Gary Farrell Winery is perched on a hillside providing breathtaking, panoramic views of the forested valley below and it includes an elegantly appointed tasting room. Their wines epitomize the best of the appellation and the passion and pioneering spirit of its visionary founder, Gary Farrell.
Beginning in the late 1970s, while working with seminal Russian River Valley vintners such as Davis Bynum, Joe Rochioli, Tom Dehlinger and Robert Stemmler, Gary Farrell was instrumental in showcasing Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. He made his first wine under the Gary Farrell label in 1982 and built the winery into one of the most acclaimed producers of small-lot Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the Valley. Although he sold the winery in 2004, the Gary Farrell Winery continues its collaborative partnerships with top growers and its commitment to wines that capture the unique character of the vineyard.
Today, Gary Farrell Winery is owned by Bill Price, the managing partner of Kistler Vineyard and owner of Three Sticks, Lutum and the famed Durell and Gap’s Crown vineyards, and a group of investors including Pete Scott, the former CFO of Beringer Wine Estates and Walt Klenz, former president and CEO of Beringer Wine Estates.
Over the years, Gary Farrell wines have garnered innumerable awards and accolades, but the winery’s new owners are not satisfied with the status quo. They are preserving Gary Farrell’s legacy while striving to push quality to an even higher level. And they certainly are succeeding.
We had the opportunity to sample several of Gary Farrell’s wines. The 2018 Russian River Selection Chardonnay is a crisp, yet elegant wine comprised of 100% chardonnay grapes blended from some of the region’s finest vineyards. The wine is aged for 8 months in 30% new French Oak. It has attractive citrus notes of lemon rind and grapefruit present on the nose followed by crisp nectarine, honeydew melon, pressed mint leaves and lemongrass. On the palate, the wine is fresh and crisp with flavors of Meyer lemon, and lime zest along with the more opulent tastes of honey and fresh apricot. Served chilled, this full-bodied wine is ideal with a fruit platter, your favorite seafood dish, and creamy rich desserts like a rice pudding. (SRP $35)
The 2018 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir has a composition of 100% Pinot Noir with grapes blended from some of the region’s top vineyards. It is aged for 8 months in 30% French Oak. This light red wine has a very tempting bouquet of juicy red fruit. On the palate, the wine has a subtle complexity with the tastes of cranberry chutney and vanilla beans and delightful undertones of ginger snap cookies. The wine’s vibrant acidity and silky tannins make it a perfect sip on it’s own but can be easily paired with an array of foods that include an appetizer or charcuterie platter, pasta with a light, fresh tomato sauce, and grilled chicken. (SRP $45).
Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery is located at 10701 Westside Road, Healdsburg, Ca. 95448. To learn more about their wines, call them at 707.473.2900 and visit https://www.garyfarrellwinery.com/. Follow Gary Farrell wines on Instagram @garyfarrellwinery
Photo credit: Courtesy of Gary Farrell Winery