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Wine Spotlight: 2017 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir

Greetings from Gary Farrell Winery! Our 2017 Gap’s Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir will knock your socks off! Although our winery roots are rooted in the Russian River Valley, our winemaker gets equally as excited about the opportunity to diversify sites outside of our region to create an orchestra of subtle nuances to further differentiate wines of the same varietal. Gap’s Crown Vineyard, located in the Petaluma Gap AVA, with rugged terrain of steep slopes and rocky soils creates vine stress yielding rich, concentrated, structured wines.  

Sonoma Pinot Noir Wineries


The Wine

Harvest began on August 21st, the day of the total eclipse, 11 days later than the year before, so hang-time was in keeping with historical averages, but it commenced in a flash. Seven percent of grapes came in the first week, followed by 53% the second during a severe heat wave. The remainder of harvest after Labor Day seemed to steady a bit as the weather cooled slightly. Curiously the final fruit of the vintage came in on autumn equinox. Planning ahead and pre-scheduling picks before the heat wave, in addition to overnight refrigeration and overall team efficiency smoothed over this rapid harvest’s bumps. Thanks to our grower partners and our own hard work, the flavor and ripeness of the wines is excellent. To our pleasant surprise, ~95% of the grapes came in on target, between 22-24.5 Brix, which is miraculous given the extreme conditions. This is definitely an indication of our overwhelming dedication to quality, but it is also a great reward for the hard work and long hours that went into making the 2017 vintage.


Tasting Notes

Dark and brooding, with elements of rustic, concentrated fruit and a savory backbone, this complex offering is a classic expression of wines from the Petaluma Gap. Black raspberry, dried cherries, and hints of blackberry jam work in concert with layers of tobacco leaf, saddle leather, and truffles. The mouthfeel is at once lush and expansive with ample tannic structure persistent throughout the mid-palate, while generous natural acidity provides a refreshing lift on the finish.


  • 94 Points | Wine Enthusiast, February 2020


The Vineyard

This picturesque vineyard has quickly risen to the top echelon of Sonoma County Vineyards and is highly sought after by winemakers all over California. First planted in 2002, Gap’s Crown includes 106 acres of Pinot Noir and 32 acres of Chardonnay. Originally a part of the southern section of the Sonoma Coast AVA, the vineyard is now a part of the newly created Petaluma Gap AVA in southwest Sonoma County where the climate is highly influenced by the effects of the coastal fog from the Pacific Ocean. Spanning the foothills of Sonoma Mountain, the vineyard offers a variety of soil types at elevations of 300 to 800 feet above sea level, with steep hillsides to promote natural airflow and soil drainage. Our Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir is a blend of clones 828 and 667. The 828 clone, with its larger berries and slightly thicker skin, contributes red fruit and structure to the blend, while the 667 clone’s smaller clusters and berries provide dark fruit sexiness and luscious texture.



The Petaluma Gap is the premier gateway to the Sonoma County wine region. Recently established as an AVA (December 2017) the wind and fog are the Petaluma Gap’s trademark. The “Gap” is actually a wind gap named after the coastal mountain opening that creates an air funnel starting at the Pacific Ocean, flowing through the town of Petaluma and then roaring south to the San Pablo Bay. Vines in the Petaluma Gap region experience longer, cooler growing seasons resulting in ripe flavors, lower alcohol and higher acidity.


Intro to Gary Farrell Winery

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is a 38-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 Bien Nacido. 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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