Russian River

Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River 2012

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Drunk June 2015, The Capital Grille, Fort Worth, Texas

The winery

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Beginning in the late 1970s, Gary Farrell was working with seminal Russian River Valley vintners such as Davis Bynum, Joe Rochioli, Tom Dehlinger and Robert Stemmle.  He made his first wine under the Gary Farrell label in 1982 and built the winery into one of the most acclaimed producers of small-lot Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in the Russian River Valley, a region 55 miles north of San Francisco.

Farrell built a state-of-the-art winery in 2000 on a ridge overlooking the winery and he sold the property in 2004 with the owners today being The Vincraft Group, a fine wine investment company led by a trio of top wine industry executives: Pete Scott, former CFO of Beringer Wine Estates; Walt Klenz, former president and CEO of Beringer Wine Estates; and Bill Price, owner of Sonoma Valley’s famed Durell Vineyard and a partner in Kistler Vineyards. In addition to Gary Farrell Winery, Vincraft owns Kosta-Browne, a celebrated Pinot Noir specialist who’s 2009 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir was Wine Spectator’s 2011 “Wine of the Year.”

Winemaker Theresa Heredia, a highly respected winemaker who has long specialized in small-lot, single-vineyard wines is managing the production of wine. She joined Gary Farrell Winery in 2012 from Freestone Vineyards in the Sonoma Coast appellation, where she achieved significant critical acclaim, including “Winemaker to Watch” honors from the San Francisco Chronicle.


Theresa Heredia

Russian River is characterised by a maritime climate with cool breezes and fog from the nearby Pacific Ocean n the mornings and evenings during the growing season, tempering summer’s heat and reducing temperatures by 35-40 degrees at night, ensuring a long, even growing season. The slow ripening process that results fully matures the fruit while maintaining healthy levels of acidity. There is a wide range of volcanic, sandstone and alluvial soils which are favorable for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, providing essential water drainage while retaining sufficient moisture and nutrients to nourish the vines during the appellation’s long growing season.


The wine

This elegant wine is a blend from producers across Russian River AVA and certainly had a powerful nose of strawberry and spice. The palate displayed earthy characteristics, nicely balanced acidity and plenty of fruit notes with an enduring finish. A great example of what Russian River can produce. Very enjoyable!

Rochioli Pinot Noir 2010, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County, California

Drunk September 2013, Goodman, London
In 1938, Joe Sr. began buying the 162 acres of land he had farmed and nourished for many years.  His son Joe Jr. shared this connection and intuitively set his sights on clones of grapes that would thrive in this unique spot. Joe Jr.'s goal was to take advantage of the soil's diversity, as well as the vineyard's proximity to the ocean and the contours of the valley. 

Today, Rochioli Vineyards and Winery is in the hands of the second and third generations, Joe Jr. and his son Tom Rochioli, the winemaker. They continue to tend to the vineyards every day, the same way they always have, with the intimate knowledge of the soil, the climate and grapes. 

A Rich, complex, well structured Pinot Noir from Russian River Valley. Really deep cherry colour in the glass with plenty of strawberry, cherry on the palate, as well as spice and oak.
Ripe cherries on the palate, ripe red fruits. Not my best ever Pinot but very enjoyable.