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Wine dinner with Gary Farrell wines - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 05-12-2005

I consider myself lucky to have the opportunity to attend so many fabulous wine dinners. I'm passing up the Niman Ranch Pork dinner in Raleigh but going to an Alsacian dinner at a different Raleigh restaurant later this month.
Last night was the Gary Farrell Wine Dinner at Zely & Ritz Restaurant in Raleigh.

1st course: Bay scallop ceviche with 2004 Gary Farrell Sauvignon Blanc, Redwood Ranch, Sonoma County, CA.

2nd course: Roast duck breast with grilled eggplant, arugula, wild garlic and pomegranate sauce with 2002 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, CA.

3rd course: Roasted emu filet with black barley, sugar snap peas and raspberry currant sauce with 2002 Gary Farrell Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, CA.

4th course: grilled beef tenderloin with balsamic red onions, creamy risotto and blackberry sauce with 2000 Gary Farrell Cabernet Sauvignon, Hillside Vineyard Selection, Sonoma County, CA.

5th course: upside down apple cake with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce with 2002 Gary Farrell Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, CA.

Great food and some very good wines.
Gary Farrell doesn't make a dessert wine so they decided to pair the appley chardonnay with the apple dessert. Two of the distributors from Mutual Distributing were at the dinner. Both sat close to me so I was able to hear what they were saying in introducing the wines.
The 2004 Sauvignon Blanc, Redwood Ranch--20% new oak; the rest in stainless steel. No malolactic fermentation. The 1/5 new oak is to tame the acidity and add a bit of richness. It was subtle enough that I liked the wine although I don't think oak is necessary for S.B. The grapes are 100% from Sonoma County but not Russian River. Quite a lemony nose--some white grapefruit later on but lemon was the first impression. The distributor mentioned lime or key lime also but I didn't pick that up. Nice wine.

The Wine of the Night (make that the wine of the month of May so far and I have sampled two 1999 Brunellos and a Numanthia) had to be the 2002 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley.
The grapes are sourced from the famous Rochioli and Allen vineyards, Starr, Stiling and Cresta. About 13.5% alcohol by volume. Pale to medium garnet color with clarity. Extremely aromatic floral nose. I can't do it justice but it was lovely. Plummy on the palate (maybe some dark cherry and some blackberry but plums rule). Smooth and velvety. 4-5 lapper finish. Distributor sitting to my left says that the beautiful floral nose comes from the Rochioli fruit. I had never had a Rochioli Pinot Noir before but see what the fuss is about now. (I ordered three bottles of this Pinot Noir to pick up later. It had sold out at the winery and is in limited supply in North Carolina. Production is something like 1200 cases?)

2002 Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma
grapes from Maple, Bradford Mountain and Stiling,50% Maple Vineyard; some Petite Syrah in the blend. I didn't check the alcohol content but one of the distributors praised it for not being a "hot" zin but more restrained. Dark red/purple color, not dense enough to be opaque. Nice, smooth with just a little bit of pepper spice and a lingering finish.

2000 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hillside Vineyard Selection, Sonoma County
A couple of us thought the nose was a little strange (vinyl?) but the taste was more typical of a C.S. than the nose. I wasn't overly impressed.

2002 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County
Chuck, sitting across from me thought it tasted like chocolate and wondered if he was going nuts. I didn't taste chocolate but I thought there was a bit of chocolate in the nose! Also got coconut and light toasty oak. Pale to medium straw color. Not as appley to my nose and palate as the distributor would have us believe. Okay.

But, man, that Pinot Noir!

Great evening. Too bad I had to work the next day.


[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 05-12-2005).]


- hotwine - 05-12-2005

Nice notes, Wonders. I've seen the GF PN but passed... guess I'll have to try it.

[This message has been edited by hotwine (edited 05-12-2005).]


- winoweenie - 05-13-2005

Agree wholesome-heartedly on the GF RRV. Was a hit at the Pinot tasting here last month. A 6-pack is resting comforably in the cellar. WW


- hotwine - 05-13-2005

Picked up a pair of the PNs this morn; now resting comfy.


- wondersofwine - 05-13-2005

What did they cost, HW? From the winery they were charging $40 but at the dinner we were able to order for $24.