Purchased and developed by Gary & Debbie
Farrell in 1999, Cresta Ridge Vineyard is highly
coveted for its cool, Green Valley location and
highly desirable Goldridge soils. The "no
expense spared" approach to development,
included matching devigorating rootstocks
with low-yielding clones and close
vine-spacing; "stressing" the plants into
producing small quantities of very high quality
fruit. This project has proven successful, with
90+ rated wines commonplace year after year
from this vineyard. Gary selected fruit from his
favorite section of the vineyard (Taurin) Block)
for this release.
Bearing the Cresta Ridge designation
preempts lofty expectations … and this wine
delivers. Signature minerality combines
seamlessly with fresh lime and green apple to
create a wine which is exceptionally vibrant,
while also expressing great depth, intensity
and length. Subtle background notes of oak
and lees quietly enhance the near-perfect
fruit contribution of this exceptional Russian
River Valley / Green Valley property.
Gary Farrell sold his very successful "namesake" brand in 2004 with ambitions of "returning to his roots" as a true artisan producer of extremely limited production Pinot Noir wines. In 2007, he partnered with longtime colleagues, Bill Hambrecht and Denise Sanders, to create the ideal winemaking environment for the production of small lot, ultra-premium wines from the cooler reaches of the Russian River Valley. Consistent with Gary’s "no compromise" approach, he equipped his new Westside Road (Healdsburg) facility with the finest tools obtainable; precisely what we would expect from the winemaker who promises to "eclipse" anything he has previously produced during his three decades of winemaking.
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The Russian River Valley is named as such due to its proximity to the Russian River, the river itself named for the Russian fur traders who came down from Alaska in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The Russian River is agricultural land. While there is a focus on wine, beyond the vineyards are many small, family-owned farms cultivating everything from cattle to Christmas trees.
The proximity of this cool river and the rolling fogs from the Pacific Ocean make the area amenable to cool-climate grapes like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In fact, the region is quite known for its full-bodied, yet elegant Pinot Noir, as well as their ripe, yet lean Chardonnays. Within Russian River Valley lie the smaller appellations of Chalk Hill and Green Valley. Chalk Hill is the warmer of the two and furthest from the ocean, while Green Valley is cooler and closer to the water.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.