A blend of top-line vineyards combines for a quality Chardonnay

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Tasteful tradition: The 2009 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay carries on a tradition of a winery that makes memorable vineyard-specific Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

Gary Farrell is a California native, whose name has been synonymous with crafting memorable Pinot Noirs from the Russian River Valley since the early 80s. While the Chardonnays from this winery have always expressed the unique characteristic of this cool climate region, Farrell’s early acclaim was for his pioneering spirit with Pinot Noir. He released his own label in 1982 and had a very successful tenure with the winery until it was sold to Allied Domecq in 2004. In 2011 there seemed to be a rebirth of the winery after it was purchased by the Vinecraft Group, which had industry experience with the well-known Kosta Browne and Kistler labels. Although Farrell is now involved with his own new venture, this winery continues to carry on in a tradition of making memorable vineyard-specific Chardonnay and Pinot Noirs.

The 2009 Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay is a blend from some of the top tier lots of Chardonnay from the winery, including Rochioli, Westside Farms and Floodgate properties. There is a classic white Burgundy characteristic of minerality and roasted nuts in the flavor profile of this wine. The golden apple and pear elements are less obvious with a subtle Mediterranean lemon and honeyed texture in the middle followed by bright, refreshing acidity in the background. This Chardonnay is clean and focused, which is typical of the essence found in Russian River Valley.

Suggested Retail: $27.99

W. Peter Hoyne has been a wine journalist for over 20 years, covering stories of national and international significance. While his professional relationships in the wine industry have allowed him to share a unique perspective of wine, he is also intrigued by the culinary aspect and harmony that exist between wine and food. As a wine advocate, he is committed to consumer education and is focused on upcoming trends and American wine-buying habits.