Gary Farrell is based on Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, but it makes wines with fruit from all over California. Russian River, however, remains the focus. The 2010 bottlings are now hitting the market. We tasted through a solid sampling of five of them. Thoughts follow.
2010 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River Valley Westside Farms – A crisp but modestly oaked California Chardonnay, made in the classic style with a buttery and nutty body, but balanced with a decent amount of acid on the back end. Some lemon notes add character, even if the depth is about average. B+ /$38
2010 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Carneros Ramal Vineyard – Very light, easy (not bright) cherry notes. Fresh, lots of acid, short and crisp finish. Some light black tea notes come along on the outro. A- / $50
2010 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Stiling Vineyard – Mild for a Russian River Pinot. A bit peppery on the nose, but the body has a more straightforward fruit profile. Quite tart, the initial rush turns surprisingly muddy with notes of pencil lead and wood. Fine, but lacking nuance. B / $50
2010 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley Bien Nacido Vineyard – Solid Pinot, but light bodied, particularly for Santa Maria. Cherry and light blackberry notes are offset by a slightly rough edge, finishing off with some wood character and touches of pencil lead. A touch bittersweet on the finish. Intriguing. B+ / $55
2010 Gary Farrell Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley Bradford Mountain Vineyard – Good Zin, not too jammy and sweet. Deep fruit flavors tend toward blackberry/blueberry, with some tobacco notes and a touch of chocolate. Lots of sediment in this wine, though, which may explain some of the bitterness (and roasted meats) on the finish. B+ / $45