Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County, Redwood Ranch 2010


A good wine for the warm summer months has to be light, can't be weighted down with oak and should provide some nice acidity to make it a refreshing quaff.  All three bills are filled with the Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc from Redwood Ranch Vineyard.  As a post script, we always hope for a bit of complexity as well, and this wine provides that, too.

The Gary Farrell winery is in the Russian River Valley - home to moody grapes like Pinot Noir, notably.  The winery reaches out to nearby Alexander Valley for these grapes.  Jim and Gayle Reed's Redwood Ranch Vineyard is located in the southern reaches of that AVA.  The vines from which this fruit comes are panted in sandy loam soil and normally enjoy a nice hot summer.  2010, however, was a cool vintage in the Alexander Valley, so expect an aromatic wine.  The winery believes this to be age-worthy in their Burgundian style.

The wine has an alcohol level of 14.1% - not exactly Burgundian, and not exactly what one might expect from the supposedly less ripe fruit of a cool vintage.  This may go to show what passes for "cool" in the Alexander Valley.  It's a full varietal wine, 100% Sauvignon Blanc, and retails for $25.  I received a sample for review.

This wine gives a medium-pale straw color in the glass. The nose is rich with fruit - peaches, pears, apricots, cantaloupe - with a slight hint of oak spice.  There are no grassy aromas to speak of, which would make one think "old-world," if it weren't for the alcohol level.  In the mouth, it's medium-full bodied, but still on the lighter side.

The palate shows apricot and nectarine, fresh and ripe. There is an intriguing earthiness, too.  This is a fairly complex white wine that's bursting with fruit.  The acidity is pretty good in the mouth, but it really shows itself well on the finish.  The tech sheet only cops to "a short time in oak," and I'd say that sounds about right.  The oak is barely noticeable, and the light spices resulting from it are welcome.  I'd pair this wine with seafood and a caprese salad in a heartbeat.

The folks at Gary Farrell make a lot of noise about their Burgundian style, and this wine bears that out.  It's not really a "new world" Sauvignon Blanc, even though the ripeness - from a cool, damp vintage - is outstanding and the earthy quality really strikes a good chord for me.  I love Sauvignon Blanc, and this one is a favorite of mine already.