Although the estate is no longer owned by Gary Farrell, its roots can be traced back to the late 1970s, when Gary Farrell was working in the Russian River Valley with iconic producers such as Joe Rochioli and Tom Dehlinger. Farrell was inspired to make his own wine after working with these Russian River Valley masters and in 1982, his dream became a reality when he produced his first wine under the namesake label.
Working with Old World sensibilities but in a completely modern winemaking facility, Gary Farrell set out to produce classic Russian River Valley wines from the best sites in the region, including Westside Farms and Rochioli, growing to also include highly acclaimed sites such as Bacigalupi, Martinelli and many more. With the longstanding relationships the estate has in the region, as well as its passion to develop new relationships with growers and their iconic vineyards, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery will surely always have an excellent source of fruit from which to craft their beautiful collection of wines.
Today, Winemaker Theresa Heredia stays true to the Burgundian-style roots on which this winery was founded. By way of U.C. Davis, Joseph Phelps, Freestone Vineyards and Domaine de Montille in France, Heredia brings an immense amount of experience to the Gary Farrell team. Having come on board in 2012, the 2013 vintage was only her second season at the estate. Now, after having tasted the 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, it is safe to say that her talent and expertise shines in the glass.
A blend of iconic Russian River Valley Vineyards—Westside Farms, Bacigalupi, Olivet Lane, Rochioli, Allen, Lazy W and Martinelli—this classic Chardonnay was inoculated with Montrachet yeast for fermentation on the lees in 40% new oak; it was then aged for eight months in those same barrels before bottling.
In addition to the seductive aromas of poached, cinnamon-spiced pears, the 2013 Russian River Valley Chardonnay nose expresses lemon over crushed ice with inviting and gentle butteriness—a contrast of coolness with rich, weighted aromatics. There are also enticing mineral-like scents of wet rocks that give the aromatics a complex structure as they hover above the glass.
Lemon meringue overtakes the palate in elegant force, layered on top of poached, cinnamon-spiced pears and golden apple flavors that are wrapped up in a creamy, silky body. This wine has a voluptuousness to it that lures you in, while still maintaining fresh, crisp acidity and refreshing structure. There is just a gentle hint of butter that does not override, but rather gives complexity to the other flavors on the palate.