Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2017

Pale-to-medium ruby color; cherry, pomegranate, raspberry, garigue on the nose; cherry cola, raspberry, mushroom, smoke, white pepper, clove on the palate.

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2017

Dry; delicious, supple tannins with superb acidity (3.37 pH). Medium body. Rich, dense flavors—classic Sonoma pinot. This is the entry-level bottling from a consistently superb Russian River pinot noir maker. Balances tasty fruit and earthy, forest floor elements. Complex, medium-long finish; 13.7% ABV.

Gary Farrell is superb expression of its place. The website explains: “Imagine a winemaker region just hours north of San Francisco rich in diversity and distinctive terroir, a well-kept secret tucked among the towering redwoods and influenced by the Pacific Ocean. Over half a century ago, pioneering growers recognized the Russian River Valley as a place that just might produce pinot noir that rivaled the villages of Burgundy. After decades of winemaking and selective planting, our valley has become internationally known for producing Pinot that is distinctly American and reflects the natural influences of our terroir.”

Gary Farrell vineyard

Russian River Valley pinot is richer, heavier than Burgundy and Oregon. That is its strength for some. Certainly Russian River efforts have loyal following. Others, include me in the group, find joyous and delicious juice in both styles the richer style and the lighter, more etherial efforts from France and Oregon.

Gary Farrell winemaker Theresa Heredia

Theresa Heredia is the winemaker. She earned a biochemistry degree from Cal Ply, then continued to the chemistry and enology PhD program at U.C. Davis. She joined Gary Farrell in 2012 and has earned more than 400 90-plus scores for her Gary Farrell wines.

Nancy Bailey is the general manager. She earned a masters in international relations at Tufts University and worked at marketing and management at wineries in Napa and Healdsburg before joining Gary Farrell.

Gary Farrell GM Nancy Bailey

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2017 is tasty pinot sourced from more than 20 vineyards in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. Entry offering from consistent quality maker, but “entry level” for a maker like Gary Farrell is many significant clicks above bottom shelf offerings in your neighborhood grocery store. There are, loosely, two pinot noirs: the mass produced stuff which strives to be a crude simulacrum of pinot noir, and the exalted heights of 100% pinot noir meticulously harvested from true pinot noir terroir. Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2017 is a glimpse into this sublime world. Pair with steelhead trout; salmon; tuna and other oily fish; pork tenderloin; veal; lamb; duck and quail; mild sausage. $38-45

Gary Farrell website

Gary Farrell vineyards
Gary Farrell vineyard