Friday, September 7, 2007

Gary Farrell Vineyards: Tasting Review

Just around the corner from the folksy shack-cum-tasting room at Porter Creek Vineyards, the elegant hilltop surroundings at Gary Farrell Vineyards could not provide a sharper contrast.

The Gary Farrell name has been synonymous with high quality pinot noir for more than two decades. The vineyard currently produces a line that also includes sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, zinfandel, cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and a Bordeaux blend called Encounter. Pinot noir is still the star and it will always be the wine that is closest to winemaker Farrell’s heart.

In 2000, the vineyard opened a new facility that sits on a ride flanking the north side of the Russian River Valley. The tasting room has sweeping views to the south and feels more Napa than Sonoma – almost like a cross between an art gallery and a small corporate retreat.

Much to my surprise, my wife and I both thought the sauvignon blanc was the best of the bunch. It is a complex, rich, oaky wine, with nicely balanced citrus flavors, a silky mouth feel and a long finish. This is a very solid food wine as well.

Try Cellar Tracker for some tasting notes on the Gary Farrell wines.

Tasting Overview:

Wine: B+

Experience: B

Setting: A


Overall: B+

Pros: Spectacular setting. Consistently high quality wines across the board.

Cons: Wines are a little pricey, though it is hard to argue with the quality. While the setting is top notch, I was disappointed that the grounds are not picnic-friendly.

Bottom line: Gary Farrell is a true pinot noir legend and any excuse to taste his wines should not be missed.

Quick Facts:

  • Winery Location: Healdsburg, California
  • Apellation(s): Russian River Valley
  • Production: 18,000 cases
  • Wines
  • Map and Directions


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