Russian River Valley’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery

Tasting Notes

Russian River Valley has been one of my favorite regions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay ever since I developed a passion for wine. Recently I had the opportunity to taste several Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery’s vintage 2017 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines (they also produce Sauvignon Blanc, Rosé of Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel), and I am impressed. Talented Theresa Heredia has been the winemaker here for almost a decade, and the vineyard designate, small lot wines she crafts are outstanding. The wines show purity, varietal correctness, beautiful balance, depth, and fine expression of Russian River Valley terroir.

2017 Ritchie Vineyard Chardonnay ($60):  Tropical fruit and hints of oak on the nose segue to a luscious mouthcoating elixir gratifying the palate.  Layers of fresh cut pineapple, spice-tinged peach and nectarine compote, butterscotch, lemon curd, and toasty barrel nuances interlace with bright balancing acidity.  This nicely weighted wine remains vivacious through the finish, which seems to go on forever.

2017 Olivet Lane Vineyard Chardonnay ($45):   The honeysuckle, citrus-kissed nectarine fragrance is mouthwatering, you can hardly wait for the wine to meet your lips.  The stone fruit theme continues as fresh summer peaches and honey-drizzled apricots entwine with lemongrass, Bartlett pears, subtle spice, and finely managed oak. Refreshing acidity keeps it brilliantly balanced through the tantalizing finish.

2017 Rochioli Vineyard Chardonnay ($65):  Wow, the expressive stone fruit aroma is irresistible. It drives you into the glass, where you will find a complex, polished wine.  Fresh summer peaches, nectarines, crisp Gala apples, roasted almonds, and a thread of minerality sashay deliciously across the palate, while well-managed oak sits ideally in the background.  The compelling finale peaks with a vitalizing note of lemon zest. 

2017 McDonald Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir ($70):  The dusty earth and wild berry aroma of this sophisticated Pinot Noir is seductive.  On the smoothly textured palate, flavors of black cherries, cinnamon, pomegranate seeds, earthiness, raspberry hard candy, black licorice, underlying oak, and fresh crushed herbs are supported by lively acidity and refined tannins.  Complex and beautifully structured, and the finish of this gem is heavenly.

2017 Martaella Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65):  This full bodied, richly flavored Pinot Noir opens with an earthy, dark cherry aroma that clearly shouts out Pinot Noir. The entry is lush and vivid with notes of Bing cherries, black raspberries, shades of earth, spice box notes, licorice drops, and huckleberries, framed by silky tannins and a fine structure.  It’s immaculately balanced and vivacious through the long finish.

2017 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir ($55):  Exotic spices wafting from the glass draw you right in, and this provocative wine keeps the senses engaged from start to close.  Damp forest floor, wild mushrooms, olallieberries, a dash of nutmeg, black raspberry jam, and piquant olive tapenade flavors wrap around a beautiful spine of acidity that keeps the wine ideally balanced.  Sophisticated with refined tannins, and the finish is persistent. 

2017 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65):  A fresh floral aroma leaps from the glass with this compelling Pinot Noir. The entry shines with red fruit and forest floor notes, and flavors broaden on the palate as raspberries, spicy accents, fresh truffles, strawberry rhubarb pie, and anise entwine.  Elegant, silky in texture, and well balanced with refined tannins, and the savory finish keeps on delivering long after the last sip.

The winery, located at 10701 Westside Road in Healdsburg, is open for tastings by appointment. Schedule time for a visit and tasting at Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery via their website, or call the winery at 707 473 2909.