This is a solid wine of great balance, with well-focused aromas showing youthful apple and pear fruit … with a sweet, creamy enrichment of toasty oak scents. There is an appealing depth of fruit in the mouth, with great continuity between nose and flavor. The structure holds firm with ample acidity, yet retains richness and suppleness. Its crisp structure and freshness make it a tremendous offering with a variety of foods.
Alcohol: 13.6% by volume
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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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.