Discover The Best Russian River Pinot Noir | Gary Farrell
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Wine Spotlight: 2017 McDonald Mountain Vineyard Pinot Noir

Another stunning release from the McDonald Mountain Vineyard located in the Sebastopol Hills neighborhood of Russian River Valley.  The cool temperatures, daily fog, breezy afternoons, steep slopes and dry farming practices all contribute to the production of very small, but extremely flavor-packed clusters and berries that always retain plenty of natural acidity. We hope that you love this vintage as much as we do.


The Wine

Grapes were harvested in the early morning hours then brought to the winery. After hand sorting, ~60% of the grapes were de-stemmed, then transferred to open-top tanks, while ~40% of the fruit was added on top as whole clusters. The juice was chilled to 45°F and allowed to cold soak for 4-7 days before fermentation. During fermentation, the cap was gently punched down 2-3 times per day. After fermentation, the new wine and its solids sat in tank for 7-10 days of extended maceration, a period during which the tannins soften and the primary fermentation esters develop complexity. The wine was then gently pressed off the skins and seeds, inoculated for malolactic fermentation and racked into 40% new French oak barrels for 15 months of barrel aging on primary lees.

Tasting Notes

Graceful, and light on its feet, this elegant wine delivers a splendid array of fresh fruit components that are complimented with savory characters and earth tones. The fruit profile is dominated by generous portions of pomegranate, bright strawberry, and cranberry. There are elements of licorice, cloves, and tobacco leaf in the background that add an element of intrigue and depth. Exceptionally clean and acid focused, the flavors meld together in a precise, focused package that delivers a lasting impression upon the senses.


  • 95 Points | Wine Enthusiast, Feb 2021


The Vineyard

The McDonald Mountain Vineyard is nestled in a very cool area near the border dividing the Russian River Valley from the Petaluma Gap. This beautiful area, referred to as the Sebastopol Hills neighborhood of the Russian River Valley, is where the fog first arrives inland from the Pacific Ocean in the morning, and where it burns off last in the afternoon. The vineyard was planted in 2008 on one to four feet of Goldridge sandy loam underlain with Los Osos clay. The diverse clonal selection includes 115, 667, 777, Pommard, 828 and Elite. The latter is a suitcase selection that produces some of the most exotic fruit characteristics that we’ve ever tasted from Pinot Noir in Sonoma County.



The coolest sub-region of Russian River Valley. Sebastopol Hills spans east and west around the southwest portion of the town of Sebastopol. Soil type is mostly Goldridge. Find acclaimed full-bodied Pinot with just the right amount of acidity.


Intro to Gary Farrell Winery

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is a 40-year pioneer of cool climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley. Winemaker Theresa Heredia joined us in 2012, carrying on our legacy of crafting Burgundian-styled, varietally expressive small-lot artisan wines capturing the balance and stylistic elegance of some of the finest vineyards in the Russian River Valley AVA and beyond; including Rochioli, Allen, Bacigalupi, Hallberg, Ritchie, Olivet Lane, Durell, Gap’s Crown, Fort Ross and Sanford & Benedict. Theresa works closely with our growers to showcase the exceptional fruit from their vineyards in each of her wines.


Watch the Grower Spotlight Video HERE

Russian River Valley Vineyards

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