The Russian River “Champagne and More” tasting tour was going great! We had completed fantastic tastings at Korbel Champagne Cellars, the Hartford Family Winery and Moshin Vineyards. Next, we went from gravity flow wine making to gravity defying wine making: the Gary Farrell Winery.
We wound our way up a gated private drive, ever climbing until I was half expecting to see a giant bean stalk. We finally reached the summit and the climb was more than worthwhile. Perched at the very top was the Gary Farrell tasting room, with beautiful vistas in every direction.
We made our way into the tasting room, with huge picture windows and art hung on every interior wall. We were greeted by wine guide Tara, who introduced us to the tasting flight and gave us some background on the winery.
Every the irony sleuths, we first found out that although the winery is technically called the “Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery” there aren’t any vineyards on the estate. Although the winery doesn’t own any vineyards, it has long-standing relationships with top growers in the region.
The tasting flight consisted of a Chardonnay and three Pinot Noirs, each from a single vineyard. Tara started us with their 2012 Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay. Spending 8 months on oak (40% of it new), this Chard has some forest notes, good fruit, and the citrus zest that we were learning to expect from Russian River varietals.
The next pour turned out to be our favorite: their 2012 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir. We awarded the coveted appellation “party in the mouth” because of the layers of cranberry, blackberry and raspberry that swirled and danced across our tongues. Great complexity with a long finish that made us look forward to the next sip. One of these followed us home.
The Pinot Noir parade continued with their 2013 Hallberg Vineyard—Dijon Clones Pinot Noir. We appreciated the library aromas and the deep cherry notes. This is a wine that presents several faces during the sip, making it a perfect pairing with a broad variety of foods.
Our final Pinot Noir was their 2013 Toboni Vineyard Pinot Noir. Our first impression was “wow, smokey!” There was a cavalcade of various dark fruits with a long, satisfying finish. If you’re looking for a sipping wine after a hard day at work, this should be on your list!
We were excited to receive a bonus pour, their 2012 Westside Farms Chardonnay. This wine showed just the right amount of oak, so that we tasted the fruit, not the butter. All in all, a great way to wrap up our tasting.
After purchasing our 2012 Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir, we said goodbye to Tara and set off for our final winery of the day. Which one did we choose? You’ll just have to wait for our next update!
About the Author: John grills a mean steak and is always in the market for another wine fridge. Believes that if a winery has more than 10 employees, it's probably too big. Buys wine faster than he drinks it, but who cares?
I too recently visited the winery and had a very enjoyable visit with Tara. And I agree that the Stiling Vineyard Pinot Noir is a winner. I brought a few bottles home and can't wait to open them!
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