An exotic, bold and rather forward style, with its well-extracted, ripe, spicy blackberry fruit aromas making quite an early statement. Yet, given its generous extract, this wine never looses focus on the keen balance between its assertive fruit flavors, lavish oak components and supporting tannins. Wonderful richness emerges in its long, full finish, where its tannins and freshening acidity bring a tremendous sense of stature and structure to a wine, which (while delicious as a youngster) is well suited for several years of careful cellaring.
100% Maple Vineyard
100% Dry Creek Valley
91% Zinfandel (52% from Tina's Block)
9% Petite Sirah
Gary Farrell Winery
A pioneer in the Russian River Valley wine region, winemaker Gary Farrell released his first vintage of Pinot Noir in 1982 to widespread critical acclaim. For 25 years, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery has crafted small-lot artisan wines that capture the impeccable balance and stylistic elegance of some of the finest vineyard sites in the region.
Noted cool-climate winemaker Susan Reed now presides over the award-winning winemaking program. Susan worked alongside Gary Farrell in the winery for four years, and she continues to craft the winery's new releases in the hallmark style developed by Gary himself, meticulously handcrafting each lot to capture the innate elegance and layered complexity of each individual vineyard site and growing region.
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Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about half as much wine as its northeasterly neighbor. Because of its vast size, however, Sonoma is able to achieve far more diversity within its borders, which include sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid-back and down-to-earth, but the wines are serious and well-made, ranging in style from subtle and elegant to rich and powerful. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
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.