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Gary Farrell Footnotes ... A Blog Preserving our past. Penning our future. Join us here for more to our story.

Published on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Wine Enthusiast awards Gary Farrell Winery Wine of the Year for their 2015 Russian River Valley Selection Chardonnay

Our 2015 Russian River Selection Chardonnay has been named the top wine for 2017 by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. The Enthusiast 100 of 2017 was just announced and included our wine in the number one position!

“We are incredibly humbled to have our Chardonnay selected by Wine Enthusiast Magazine as the #1 wine for 2017,” said Theresa Heredia, our winemaker. “Our Russian River Selection is a symphony of vineyards in the Russian River Valley, and we are grateful to these fine growers for their dedication to quality. Their hard work affords us the opportunity to make beautiful, refined wines. We very much appreciate the recognition from Wine Enthusiast.”

Our Chardonnay was the first white wine selected number one in the Wine Enthusiast top 100 list in over 10 years. The magazine noted, “For its display of excellent quality, competitive pricing and wide availability – a veritable triple threat – the Gary Farrell 2015 Russian River Selection Chardonnay could not be overlooked as the top wine this year.”

Here’s a little information about the wine, and a wonderful video of Theresa describing the 2015 vintage and Russian River Selection Chardonnay.

Vineyards

Our Russian River Selection bottlings are quintessential Russian River Valley wines blended from some of the winery’s top vineyard sources. They are beautiful expressions of their varietal type and of the appellation’s unique terroir, each blend. This layered and complex Chardonnay brings together fruit from several of our favorite Russian River Valley vineyard sites. Anchored by the naturally balanced character of Westside Farms and 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, featuring the Wente clone, adds refreshing citrus tones and excellent acidity.

Vintage

The 2015 vintage was another great year for Russian River Valley wines. Every year we at Gary Farrell try to make wines that are more balanced than previous years and this was certainly a great opportunity for that. The wines are looking to have all the richness, texture, freshness, purity and intensity that we want to see, and many with alcohols that will be well below 14%. The 2015 Chardonnay crop was moderately sized and quality was excellent. Although the harvest started early, it is important to note that the entire season of vine development began early. Thus, ample hang-time was achieved, and we’re finding that the wines have excellent phenolic structure, beautiful concentration, and plenty of natural acidity – especially in the vineyards that were harvested early – and perfectly balanced alcohols. In the end, Mother Nature again filled our cellar with barrels and tanks full of some of the best, most balanced wines we’ve ever produced.

Winemaking

The grapes were harvested between 21.5-23° Brix in the cool morning hours to preserve freshness and fruit integrity, then each lot was whole cluster pressed using a gentle program tailored specifically to the qualities of the grapes at harvest. A very long, minimally extractive Champagne press program was used on grapes with small berries, while a shorter, slightly more extractive program was used on grapes with large, juicy clusters and berries. After pressing, the percent solids were adjusted by racking off some of the lees, then the juice, along with the lees, was immediately transferred to 30-40% new French oak (François Frères, DAMY, Dargaud & Jaegle, Cavin) for fermentation and 9 months of barrel aging. The barrel selection, a mixture of light and medium toast barrels and 500-L puncheons, was chosen to add subtle structure and aromatics, and to polish the finished wine without dominating its expression of place. The wines were racked off the primary lees only once, just before bottling.

Tasting Notes

A fresh, vivacious style of Chardonnay with perfect balance, combining a full palate with generous fruit flavors, finesse and elegance. This Russian River blend offers a delicate floral and fruit bouquet with spicy undertones, flint and citrus aromas. On the palate, a supple attack with thirst-quenching Meyer lemon, tart apricot, starfruit, lime zest and a beautiful saline quality. Racy acidity accentuates the long, savory, slightly nutty finish. This wine combines satisfying richness with minerality, precision, pure Russian River Valley typicity and poise.

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