Vinepair highlighted 30 of its editorial team’s favorite red wines to reach for this year, including Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 and Gary Farrell Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir 2016. Writer Keith Beavers explained that this edited selection includes wines at multiple price points to fit every mood or occasion and that “these are some of the bottles that really made us raise an eyebrow this year.”
The piece offers a brief history on Chateau Montelena, adding that there is gorgeous finesse in the winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon. “The elegance lives in the vibrant acidity winding through this wine, casually pronouncing a whiff of plum and blackberry mingling with cracked black pepper. It all comes together on the palate, with an added cassis vibe and well-woven tannins calling from the edge of your palate. This is a special wine.”
Moving to the Gary Farrell Pinot Noir, Beavers said, “If you were to ask, ‘What is it about Russian River Pinot Noir that sets it apart from the rest of the Pinot on the planet?’ I would shove this wine in your face, then take it away and drink it myself.” He claims he is kidding and that he’d share (jury is out on that,” before describing the wine. “Cherries, cinnamon, and earthy mushrooms rush up and into your senses, leaving you all swoon-y before you sip. On the palate, the wine is dense, crushed velvet, with supple, chewy fruit that soaks into your palate.” He also offers some food pairing ideas.
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Napa Valley, California
The Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a medium-bodied wine offering notable raciness up front, compelling freshness and depth of flavor. The earthy, complex and concentrated Cabernet Sauvignon is softened by the judicious addition of Merlot. This is a wine that delivers immediate pleasure upon release.
Gary Farrell Winery
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.
Calistoga, Napa Valley, California
In 1976 Chateau Montelena put California at the forefront of the wine world. That year a who's-who of the French wine establishment gathered in Paris for a blind tasting of French and American wines. When the scores were tallied, the top-ranking white wine was Chateau Montelena's 1973 Chardonnay. Montelena today continues to be a quality benchmark in Napa Valley, producing some of the finest Cabernet and Chardonnay in California.
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.