2012 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Hallberg Vineyard Dijon Clones and Clone 777

2012 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Hallberg Vineyard Dijon Clones and Clone 777

I could go on and on about Gary Farrell wines. I’ve never had a bottle disappoint – EVER. There is something about the intensity of flavor matched with exquisite balance that makes Gary Farrell one of my favorite producers.

Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery are located in the beautiful Russian River Valley. I’ve written before about their Chardonnay, but it’s been their Pinots and Zinfandels that have captured me and fueled my obsession. If you find yourself in Sonoma, California, this is a must-visit winery. Taste the deliciousness they have to offer in their beautiful location and you too will be hooked.

Today’s two wines are perfect examples. Both 100% Pinot Noir, from 2012 vintage and the Hallberg Vineyard, the Dijon Clones uses 3 different clones from the 100 acre vineyard and spends 9 months in 40% new French oak. The Clone 777 uses just a single clone from a single block in the vineyard, was fermented in an open-top oak tank and spent 14 months in 40% new French Oak. That’s a lot of technical info that most people won’t care about, but it’s those little details that affect the flavor and character of the wines. These are thoughtful, small batch wines (just 484 cases of Dijon Clones was produced, a mere 120 cases of the 777) and the care and quality come through in the glass.

I’ll start with the Dijon Clones. According to the winery tasting notes:

This deliciously complex wine exudes enticing aromas of sweet tobacco, huckleberry, Asian spices and juicy Satsuma orange. The rich and savory palate unfolds into classic cool-climate flavors of dried herbs, anise, boysenberry, rose hip and rhubarb, all of which merge seamlessly into a lively, silky, firmly structured finish that lingers with refreshing, mouthwatering acidity.

I haven’t had a Satsuma orange, but there was definitely sweet tobacco, baked cherries and berries, with ample spice on the nose and the palate. Imagine a cherry berry pie with star anise and baking spices and you are on the right track. I also got a lovely whiff of cherry coke on the nose that I find in many high end California Pinots. The finish was long and silky smooth. If I could only afford it, I’d drink this wine every day. It can be paired with food, but my hubby and I just spent an afternoon enjoying the bottle.

As far as the Clone 777 goes, here’s the winery tasting notes:

An ethereal, aromatic concoction of zesty tangerine oil, dried cedar, exoticspices and fresh herbs. This seductive and vivacious wine flaunts flavors ofwhiskey-soaked cherries, blackberry-lavender compote, citrus peel, soy and anunexpected ginger-like spice on the back end. Everything is perfectly in balancehere, with supple, palate-coating tannins and juicy acidity melding into a luscious,sexy, persistent finish.

The extra time in oak definitely shows with this wine. More tannin, more body, more complexity than the Dijon Clones. This is a wine I really wouldn’t pair with food or else you’ll miss something lovely and subtle. The black cherry is deeper, less sweet, more woodsy and earthy yet the acidity kicks in with a tart cranberry on the back end along with mushroomy dark earth. It is a study in contrast and balance. There was a small percentage of whole clusters in the fermentation, those bits of stem bring in some vegetal, almost savory notes, and while I wouldn’t go as far as soy and ginger, there was black tea and woodsy spice on the long and supple finish. This is a wine to savor.

Fortunately for me, I’ve got one more of each of these beauties, sitting, waiting patiently. I don’t know when I’ll open them. I’m hoping I have the patience to wait, cause this is the type of wine that will reward your patience.