The Tasting Panel magazine

August 2017

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46  /  the tasting panel  /  august 2017 WHAT WE'RE DRINKING I t took me a long time to realize that Chardonnay could be a grape with nuance," said Theresa Heredia, winemaker for Russian River–based Gary Farrell wines since 2012. "I grew up hating the variety," she confessed, "but after a two-month trip to Burgundy, my mind was changed." She had worked at the famed Burgundy producer Domaine de Montille. Heredia most recently was the star winemaker for Joseph Phelps's Freestone and Fog Dog Chardonnay and Pinot programs in western Sonoma County. Now, at Gary Farrell, with years behind her leading to a firm understanding of cool-climate, small-lot, single-vineyard grape production, specifi- cally Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, she affirmed, "In California, we can make great Chardonnay by respect- ing the fruit, but credit is also due to the growers and the grapes' respective vineyards that we source from all over the valley." Heredia was talking to a group of Southern California restaurateurs and wine buyers at Thomas Keller's Bouchon in Beverly Hills, where her wines were carefully paired with some exquisite dishes. As we tasted through the wines, Heredia noted, "We treat each vineyard individually. There are no 'recipes' across the board. We determine sense of place in the bottle and the glass." Her style—or, as she calls it, her "stamp"—is to pick fruit earlier, with the goal of capturing as much of the fresh, crisp acidity and "lemony persistence" as possible. She is careful to select beautiful fluffy lees, which carry fine particulate matter from the grape skins and stems, and work the wines carefully in the cellar through lots of bâtonage to craft wines with oily texture, purity and site-specificity. "I get a lot of texture from lees contact as well as ageworthiness when we refrain from racking off the primary lees," said Heredia. "We also don't incorporate as much oxygen, which leads to wines with longevity." To allow for better integration of oak aromas and flavors, Heredia has incorporated the use of oak puncheons—500-liter barrels, twice the size of a Gary Farrell Wines Come to Beverly Hills WINEMAKER THERESA HEREDIA AND MASTER SOMMELIER FRED DAME HOST A PARTY AT BOUCHON by Meridith May / photos by Cal Bingham Andrew Adelson, Wine Director at Bouchon Beverly Hills, with Gary Farrell Winemaker Theresa Heredia and Master Sommelier Fred Dame, VP/Prestige Accounts, American Wine & Spirits (a division of Southern Glazer's of CA).

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