Gary Farrell’s 2017 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir could be considered the winery’s base-model Pinot Noir, with an average price of $37 on Wine-Searcher. But what an entry-level wine it is. This is a bottle to splurge on for a special day, or just to celebrate the end of another long week. It’s become one of my favorite California Pinot Noirs — consistently excellent and widely available, with more than 10,000 cases produced.
The wine was made from a blend of grapes sourced from at least seven well-known vineyards in the Russian River Valley, some cooler, some warmer, and aged for 10 months in French oak barrels, just 35 percent of them new. The wood influence is there, but restrained. It frames a delicious mix of red and dark fruit tastes — black cherry, pomegranate, blueberry, a touch of raspberry — and there’s a hint of clove and a mineral touch, all adding up to a balanced, medium-bodied wine with refreshing underlying acidity, and a moderate 13.7 percent ABV. As for food pairings with Gary Farrell’s 2017 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir, I wouldn’t get too aggressive — it would work nicely with grilled salmon and roasted chicken and turkey.
On its website, Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery describes itself as a “grand cru” of the Russian River Valley, producing wines of “balance, elegance, and pure varietal expression.” It’s not an overstatement.