Over the last year or so, I’ve fallen madly in love with Sonoma County. In particular, the area of the Russian River Valley encircled by the towns of Guerneville, Sebastopol & Healdsburg. From the towering Redwoods to the rocky coastline and everything in between, the natural beauty in this area is unsurpassed.
The more I explore the wines from this area, the more I realize how amazing they are as well. This year, we decided to escape LA and ring in the new year in a cozy cabin tucked among the Sequoias in Guerneville.
With nearly all the tasting rooms closed on New Year’s Eve, we headed to the nearby Russian River Brewing Company for some outstanding beers, including a Brown Ale aged in used Pinot Noir barrels from local Sonoma County wineries called Supplication. When the tasting rooms reopened after the holiday, I couldn’t wait to try some new wines.
My first wine of 2014 was at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. The Gary Farrell Winery is nestled among the pines on a hillside that offers sweeping views of the Russian River Valley below. Because it was such a beautiful day, we decided to do a Terrace Tasting which included 6 wines for $25 per person. There was also a Traditional Tasting available inside at the tasting bar for $15 per person.
Hospitality manager Lavonne Holmes was our host for the afternoon and we couldn’t have been luckier. She walked us through a series of Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs & Zinfandels while explaining the history of Gary Farrell, and sharing her rich personal knowledge and experiences in the wine industry. Not only was she a pleasure to talk to, but she also made my passion for wine burn even brighter.
All the wines we tried were beautifully crafted and very nicely balanced. I particularly liked the 2011 Rochioli-Allen Vineyard Chardonnay, the 2011 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, and the bold, mouth-watering 2011 Bradford Mountain Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley.
I could have easily spent the entire day sitting on the terrace chatting with Lavonne and enjoying the delicious wines of Gary Farrell Vineyards. It was the perfect way to kick off the new year. We will definitely be back soon.
GARY FARRELL VINEYARDS & WINERY
10701 Westside Road
Healdsburg, CA 95448
Phone: (707) 473-2909
Tasting room hours: 10:30AM – 4:30PM Daily