Tasting Report: New Releases from Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gary Farrell's Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir
Gary Farrell Winery is a Sonoma producer best known for their well balanced Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays. Gary Farrell began producing wine in the area in the late 1970s. Along with folks like Joe Rochioli, Tom Dehlinger, Davis Bynum, Robert Stemmler and others, Farrell established what Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay would become today. In 1982 he produced his first wine under the Gary Farrell label and gradually built its prominence.

I first got to know Gary Farrell in depth at a winemaker dinner they had at Blue Ginger a couple years ago. Gary Farrell himself sold the winery in 2004. Current winemaker Theresa Heredia joined Gary Farrell in 2012. You may have tasted her wines before since she was the winemaker at Freestone (Joseph Phelps' Pinot Noir project) from its first vintage through 2011.

I had a chance to taste through some of their 2013 releases recently. My notes are below.

Their Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir has consistently been one of my absolute favorites, and this vintage lived up to my high hopes. Hallberg is also the fruit source for Radio-Coteau La Neblina Pinot Noir (read more) and Emeritus (Wine Spectator Top 100 - read more). I hear Scherrer also does a great Pinot Noir from Hallberg. Definitely one of my all-time favorite vineyards in the world. Here's a link to a YouTube video about what makes Hallberg Vineyard special.

2013 Gary Farrell Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir
14.1% Alcohol
1,290 Cases Produced

Textbook California Pinot Noir. Bright, ripe black cherry aromatics with supporting smoky notes. Silky texture and uttery delicious. A finish that goes on for minutes in amazing fashion. Very special. Outstanding.

93/100 WWP: Oustanding

2013 Gary Farrell Olivet Lane Chardonnay
13.8% Alcohol
987 Cases Produced

Medium-bodied and more enjoyably powerful and weighty than its 13.8% alcohol would indicate. Golden with hints of green around the edge. Glass-coating and satisfying with attractivate aromatics and flavors of ripe pears, golden delicous apples, and a hint of toasted marshmalllows on the finish. Outstanding.

91/100 WWP: Outstanding

2013 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir
14.1% Alcohol
11,267 Cases Produced

Medium bodied with lively, potent aromatics and flavors. Classic California Pinot Noir notes. This is young and needs time, as there are some sharp edges at points. But after a night or two on the counter (simply recorked) those traits disipated and the wine held up brilliantly. Outsanding wine.

90/100 WWP: Oustanding

2013 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay
14.2% Alcohol
5,861 Cases Produced

Golden-hued with shades of green around the edges. Baked pears on the nose. Satisfying mouthfeel with commonplace Chardonnay herbaceous notes that stop me short of being wholly enthusastic about this medium-bodied white. Still, well-mannered and enjoyable.

88/100 WWP: Very Good

Samples for review.

For more information about Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery visit their website:

Tasting room? Yes, by appointment
Available at retail? Yes
Wine Club/List? Wine club
Ship to Massachusetts? Yes

Question of the Day: Have you tasted Gary Farrell wines? If so, what did you think?


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