The SOMM Journal

August / September 2017

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Page 119 of 148

{ }  119 THE WINES Gary Farrell 2014 Russian River Selection Chardonnay (SRP $35) 5,039 cases "The story of all the single vineyards are in this glass," says General Manager Nancy Bailey. Vibrant, fresh aromas of lemon and green apple abound; rounder, fresh yellow peach with leesy, oily mouthfeel in the mid-palate, framed by a saline-like acidity that carries the long, lingering finish. Gary Farrell 2014 Olivet Lane Chardonnay (SRP $45) 926 cases Lemon peel, flinty, unbut - tered popcorn aromas; very lean and angular up front with plenty of citrus and salinity that fills out in the mid-palate revealing its weight and hints of butterscotch. Gary Farrell 2014 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir (SRP $45) 9,917 cases A blend of 10 vineyards located in various microclimates throughout the RRV serve as a spice rack for a master blender like Heredia. Brushy chaparral, hints of eucalyptus, savory masculine aromas and hints of wild strawberries. Fresh, red fruit up front and notes of raspberry tea; red plum skin texture framed by light-tea tannins. Gary Farrell 2014 Hallberg Pinot Noir (SRP $55) 1,409 cases Elegant and feminine herbal notes with deep, blue fruit aro - mas. Voluptuous, juicy red fruit layered with savory undertones of black plum pudding; through - out, there's a freshness from the acidity that lifts the wine and leaves your mouth watering. ROCHIOLI VINEYARD Imagine Sonoma in 1968: There were plenty of vine- yards but only bulk-wine producers buying fruit for their "mixed reds" and "mixed whites." To plant a variety like Pinot Noir, which is low-yielding and difficult to grow, must have seemed absurd. Yet that's is exactly what Joe Rochioli, Jr. did. In 1957, when Rochioli was in college, he had read about Burgundy and the "big money" they were earning for their grapes. "But at the time, there were no wineries," recalls Rochioli. "I can understand why my dad said no." After his father passed in 1966, he dug out a portion of high-yielding vines to prep the land. He sought out bud - wood from a producer south of St. Helena and planted his first four acres of Pinot Noir. In 1973, Davis Bynum winery produced the first vineyard- designate Rochioli Pinot Noir, and Farrell would soon follow in his footsteps. I asked how the relationship first came about, "They paid me more," he laughs and adds, "I think it's just a combination. I didn't care about the money, I wanted to make the best grapes there are. I'm a proud Italian. I was proud of my grapes, even when I was getting $85 per ton and they were dumping them in the mixed reds. And the guys were telling me, 'You're crazy to plant those things,' and I'd say, 'Yeah, but look how nice they look.'" Rochioli's handshake deal with Farrell has continued ever since. Heredia mentions that the GFW Rochioli Pinot Noir is always a blend of a little "new river 777 and the River Block". Rochioli sits back, nods in agreement and says, "Oh, that's good. You make a good wine," then turning to me he says smiling, "She's a good winemaker." Theresa Heredia with the legendary Joe Rochioli, Jr.

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