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Gary Farrell Vineyard: Outstanding New Releases from Winemaker Theresa Heredia

January 27, 2021

The International Wine Review highlighted a range of new releases from Gary Farrell Winery, including the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay, 2018 Russian River Selection Chardonnay, 2017 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir and 2018 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir. The write up also speaks to Winemaker Theresa Heredia’s use of whole cluster fruit (usually around 30%) because she believes “that whole clusters contribute to the overall flavor complexity in the wines as well balancing acidity and softening tannins.”

Longtime admirers of both Gary Farrell Winery and Heredia, the writers note that it came as no surprise that the 2017 and 2018 vintages tasted are “very, very good.” Before delving into the tasting notes, the story offers a quick background on the 2017 growing season “of extremes” in comparison to the “almost perfect” 2018 season. It is worth reading the article to see how the differences influenced the wines and harvest in an easily digestible way!

Below, we’ve included a few of our favorite tasting notes from the story but have included the link to the full story HERE and in the embedded PDF:

The Olivet Lane single vineyard expression of Chardonnay is described as having “a lively perfume of pear, stone fruit, lemon oil, and a hint of sweet barrel spice. The attack shows stunning purity and the mouth feel is refined with optimally ripened yellow fruit and juicy acidity.” Whereas the Russian River Selection Chardonnay is “clean and fresh on the attack with a refined richness on the palate. There’s excellent concentration and length with nice lemony acidity and a lingering stone-like minerality.”

The deep ruby red colored Hallberg Pinot Noir has notes of “dark cherry interwoven with wild red berries and savory herbs” on the nose, with a “core of dense fruit on a silky palate with nuances of toasted oak.” This description also delves into much greater detail about clone sourcing and winemaking. The Russian River Selection Pinot Noir is a wonderful blend of fruit from several Russian River vineyards, and is slightly lighter in color than the Hallberg. The sumptuous nose “reveals dark cherry and berry,” while the palate invites notes of “red and black fruits and lively acidity accompanied by nuances of dark soil and spice.”

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    Gary Farrell Winery

    Gary Farrell Winery Olivet Lane Chardonnay 2017

    Russian River Valley, California

    Pellegrini’s Olivet Lane Vineyard was planted in 1975 to Wente selection on AXR rootstock. The vineyard sits on 65 acres of sloping bench land in the Santa Rosa Plain, in between the warmer Westside Road region and the cooler Green Valley,where warm summer days are moderated by cool breezes and chilly evening temperatures. The combination of low temperatures, regular fog intrusion and well drained loam, clay soils create an excellent environment for growing Chardonnay that develop cool-climate characteristics and impeccable acid at fairly low sugars.The wines from this vineyard simultaneously express power and finesse, and they do so with tremendous balance. 

    Gary Farrell Winery

    Gary Farrell Winery Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir 2017

    Russian River Valley, California

    Named for its previous owners, the 100-acre Hallberg Vineyard is today owned and managed by wine industry veterans including vineyard manager Kirk Lokka. Nestled in the Green Valley sub-appellation, the site enjoys refreshing daytime breezes and cool nighttime temperatures. The strong marine influence means less severe daily temperature shifts so the vines never completely shut down, producing fruit with deep, dark color, great structure, silky tannins, darker fruit flavors and earthy characteristics. This blend is a composition of many of the best blocks on this cool, foggy vineyard site, which include clones 667, 777, 828, Pommard and a mysterious “suitcase” selection.

    Gary Farrell Winery

    Gary Farrell Winery Russian River Selection Chardonnay 2018

    Russian River Valley, California

    The Russian River Selection bottlings are quintessential Russian River Valley wines blended from some of the winery’s top vineyard sources. They are beautiful expressions of their varietal type and of the appellation’s unique terroir, each blend capturing the richness, purity and elegance that are Gary Farrell Winery’s trademarks. This layered and complex Chardonnay brings together fruit from several of our favorite Russian River Valley vineyard sites.

    Gary Farrell Winery

    Gary Farrell Winery Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2018

    Russian River Valley, California

    The Russian River Selection bottlings are quintessential Russian River Valley wines blended from some of the region’s top vineyards, taking advantage of varied climates and unique site characteristics.  Undoubtedly showcasing a beautiful expression of the varietal and of the appellation’s unique terroir, this Pinot Noir blend captures the richness, purity and elegance that are Gary Farrell Winery’s trademarks.

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    Russian River Valley, California

    For over 37 years, Gary Farrell Winery has crafted small-lot artisan wines capturing balance and stylistic elegance from some of the finest vineyard sites in the Russian River Valley. In 1985, Winemaker Gary Farrell released his 55 cases of 1982 Rochioli-Allen Pinot Noir to widespread critical acclaim. Since that release, the team at Gary Farrell Winery has consistently focused on rigorous vineyard selection, outstanding grower relationships, and superior quality fruit. For the past 8 years, the current owners have been dedicated to enhancing Gary Farrell’s legacy with a single-minded focus on quality.