This is the second installment of our reviews of Gary Farrell’s new 2014 releases of single-vineyard Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs and two single vineyard Zinfandels. Readers who missed the previous reviews can find them here. The wines reviewed here are mainly from the Russian River Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and the Far Sonoma Coast. They are more stunning examples of the very high quality of single vineyard winemaking taking place in Sonoma County these days.
While Sonoma County is best known for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, there are equally impressive Zinfandels being crafted from outstanding vineyards such as Maffei Vineyard in Russian River Valley and Grist Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley. These 100% Zinfandels by Gary Farrell Winery offer bold and spicy black and red fruit flavors that are only found in wines produced from these old vineyards. Readers who are not acquainted with top notch Zinfandels are encouraged to try these with their next steak or barbecue.
Gary Farrell 2014 Chardonnay Olivet Vineyard Russian River Valley ($45) 91 The Chardonnay Olivet Vineyard exhibits ripe stone fruit with tropical fruit nuances. It is full, ripe and honeyed on the plate with a creamy texture and excellent acidity. It also reveals nice minerality on the finish. Gary Farrell 2014 Chardonnay Rochioli-Allen Russian River Valley ($60) 93 Ripe orchard and stone fruit aromas are revealed on the nose of this lovely Chardonnay. Big, full and vibrant on the palate, it has concentrated flavors and excellent balancing acidity. While a tad tart, it has ripe fruit, lovely chalky minerals and a very long, rich finish. Gary Farrell 2014 Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard Fort Ross-Seaview ($70) 90+ The Pinot Noir Fort Ross Vineyard displays a fresh bright red cherry nose with a hint of vanilla. Sourced from two blocks of Dijon clone 777 and Calera, it is light-bodied on the palate with concentrated flavors of red cherry and raspberry and a touch of cinnamon. It reveals high acidity and freshness with rich cherry extract on the finish. Gary Farrell 2014 Pinot Noir Rochioli Vineyard Russian River Valley ($75) 93 The Pinot Noir Rochioli Vineyard is from stand out Pinot Noir blocks; it exhibits a complex earthy nose with red cherry accents. It offers pure ripe fruit flavors packed with cherry, earth, and spice. It has a lovely creamy mouth feel, excellent balance and good length on the finish. Gary Farrell 2014 Pinot Noir Hallberg Vineyard Russian River Valley ($55) 91 This Pinot Noir has a somewhat restrained nose, but is big and full in the mouth with a rich texture. It reveals excellent depth of flavor and fullness with a richly extracted finish that goes on and on. Its dry tannins require a bit of time in the bottle. Gary Farrell 2014 Zinfandel Grist Vineyard Dry Creek Valley ($50) 92 The Zinfandel Grist Vineyard of “mother blocks” planted in 1900, displays a dark red, transparent color. Offering fresh, pure black currant and dark red fruit, it has a silky mouth feel and is packed with red and black berries, spice and black pepper. There are firm but round tannins on the palate with a bit of heat on the finish. Drinkable now but will be even better in a couple of years and should age well over the next seven to ten years. Gary Farrell 2014 Zinfandel Maffei Vineyard Russian River Valley ($50) 92+ The Zinfandel Maffei Vineyard of 90+ year old head trained vines, offers bold and concentrated red and black fruit flavors with notes of black pepper and spice. It displays firm round tannins, good acidity and a persistent finish. Aged 16 months in 40% new French oak, it has slightly bigger shoulders than the Zinfandel Grist Vineyard without losing freshness or elegance. A superb wine with great aging potential.