Farrell GM Nancy Bailey says Heredia "was a rising star when we hired her" in 2012, having racked up acclaim as winemaker at Freestone on the Sonoma Coast after a stint in Burgundy. Bailey says the winemaker is a "warm, thoughtful, deeply engaged person who is helping to forge a new identity for Gary Farrell Winery." Wouldn't we all like to be thought of so highly by our bosses?
Heredia (below, right) is understandably proud to be in charge of the wines at one of the Russian River Valley's pioneering wineries. She says the 2012 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are wines of elegance and balance, from a growing season that was long and sunny
Here’s how they describe the various vineyards which contributed fruit to this cuvée: "Anchored by the naturally balanced character of Westside Farms with intriguing floral and stone fruit notes from Bacigalupi Vineyard,the wine's great concentration and structure derive from the nearby Rochioli and Allen vineyards. Olivet Lane Vineyard's Wente clone adds refreshing citrus tones and excellent acidity." Grapes from Lazy W Vineyard, Martinelli Vineyard and McIntyre Starr Creek Vineyard were also employed.
This Chardonnay is big but not even a little bit flabby. The oak and lees contact have given it heft and character galore, while the fruit holds its own. Aromas that say "oak" are first from the glass. Vanilla, smoke and earth join apricot, peach and apple for a festive nose. The palate is about as brawny as a white wine gets. Tropical fruit and oak toast meet in a delicious battle that neither force can win - they are too evenly matched.
The 2012 vintage yielded what Heredia calls "some of the best quality fruit the winery has seen in decades." The wine aged for eight months in French oak barrels, only about a third of which were new. Alcohol hits 14.1% abv, and 9,206 cases were produced. The retail price is $45 per bottle.
This Pinot is fairly dark and it smells of bacon fat, smoke, rosemary, white pepper, black tea, vanilla and cafe au lait. What an array of aromas! The palate seems almost anticlimactic after all that. The fruit is pretty ripe, so the classic tartness of Pinot Noir sits in the backseat - driven around by full-bodied flavors of raspberry, cherry and plum. A savory aspect grows as the bottle is open. The acidity is lively in the mouth, the tannins firm on the tongue. This is bombastic, The perfect Pinot for those who prefer a full-bodied wine like Cab or Syrah.
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