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Posts Tagged ‘Russian River Valley’

Gary Farrell Winery: The Wow Factor!

October 29, 2009 3 comments

Wow!  What an experience!  Prior to our visit, I had heard that the tasting room at Gary Farrell Winery offers one of the best views overlooking the Russian River Valley and it did live up to its reputation.  The winding drive up to the winery set the tone as my wife and I kept commenting on the beauty that surrounded us as we made the drive up to the top of the hill to the winery.  Our 10 am appointment gave us 30 minutes before the winery opened to the general public allowing us to have the place relatively to ourselves for a brief time  — an advantage to making an appointment in advance.   As we like the slower pace we opted for the tour, tasting and cheese pairing and I urge you to do the same as it makes for a fantastic experience.

Gary Farrell: View off patio deck

Gary Farrell: View over-looking the Russian River Valley

Scott Monroe took care of us beginning the tour with the stunning view you see above.  This overlook of the Russian River Valley is fantastic and this photo does not even come close to capturing the beauty.  Scott described the wine making process beginning with the important long-term relationships the winery has with various vineyards for its supply of quality grapes — with only one exception, the fruit originates from Sonoma County — most of it coming from the Russian River Valley.  One particular relationship that caught my attention is the one with Rochioli Vineyard as this vineyard is known to produce exceptional fruit year in and year out — supplying both  Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Scott detailed the process and concluded the tour talking about Susan Reed who spent 3 years working with Gary Farrell and then in August 2006 took over the reigns as winemaker at the winery.

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Winery Tour: Scott Monroe explains the wine-making process

The wine tasting and cheese pairing experience was both relaxing and enjoyable and the view — have I mentioned the view?  The view from the tasting room really is breathtaking, so much so I forget to take a photo for you to enjoy.  The relaxed atmosphere made the experience one both my wife and I will always remember.  We tasted Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, a Proprietary red blend and Zinfandel.  Of the 9 wines we tasted, I noted 4 as being very enjoyable including the 2007 Bradford Mountain (Dry Creek Valley)  Zinfandel.

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Wine and Cheese tasting setup

We joined the Gary Farrell Grand Crew Club as we were so impressed with the wines we tasted.  We just recently took our first delivery which consisted of both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and once I open them, I will share the tasting experience in a future write-up.

On a side note, when you visit the Gary Farrell Winery you are a short drive (about 10 minutes) away from the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant, a Michelin rated one-star restaurant that is just fantastic — my suggestion is go there for dinner if you can.  The link will take you to my earlier post about our experience there — a truly memorable dining pleasure.  I only mention this as the Farmhouse Inn Restaurant is in my top 2 favorite restaurants in the Sonoma / Napa area.

The tour, tasting and cheese pairing is at a cost of $25 — do it!  You will enjoy it!  You can opt for tastings only with a tasting fee of $10 and $15 depending on the wine flight you choose.

Recommendation:  Make time to visit the Gary Farrell winery as you will enjoy both the outstanding wines and the exceptional view overlooking the Russian River Valley.

Gary Farrell Wines; 10701 Westside Road; Healdsburg, CA 95448

 

Farmhouse Restaurant and Failla Wine: Great Combo

October 14, 2009 3 comments

Farmhouse Inn & Restaurant located just off of scenic River Road in Forestville, California is an exceptional restaurant.  The drive from Sonoma took about 45 minutes and was both easy and enjoyable.  The scenery in this area is just fantastic — the Russian River Valley has a special place in my heart as so many fantastic wines come from grapes grown in this area.  Upon our arrival, Christopher Fohner (the Maitre d’) welcomed us as if we were family presenting us with our menu that included a “Happy Anniversary” message.  I confessed that it really was our 25 1/2 year anniversary (people who know me know I love to extend celebrations) and he presented us with an updated menu congratulating us on such a joyous occasion.  The personal touches throughout our experience make this a restaurant that I highly recommend  — go out of your way to experience this gem of a restaurant.

Farmhouse Inn:  2008 Michelin one star recipient

Farmhouse Inn: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010 Michelin one star recipient

Fohner’s wife, Jenn, did an outstanding job in answering our questions about the menu that ultimately led my wife to try the “Duo of Heritage Berkshire Pork” and I had to have the “Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit” which I had heard is a signature dish.  Geoff Kruth, the Master Sommelier, suggested the 2006 Failla Estate Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast) to pair with our meal and as it was a wine we had never had our trust in his recommendation was greatly rewarded.  You can follow Failla Wines on twitter @faillawines.

The Duo of Heritage Berkshire Pork is a combination of Pancetta wrapped tenderloin and a crispy Kurobuta belly along with a steamed corn flan and fresh shelling beans and this combination put a smile on my wife’s face that I know means she enjoyed.

Duo of Heritage Berkshire Pork

Duo of Heritage Berkshire Pork

The Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit consists of an applewood smoked bacon wrapped loin that is fantastic as the combination of flavors works perfectly and is a taste that is not only enjoyable but unique in every way.  Next, in the center of the photo below is the confit of leg that is covered with a whole grain mustard sauce and to the right you see the roasted rack.  This combination of rabbit is outstanding and, even though my expectations were very high, was even better than expected.

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

Rabbit Rabbit Rabbit

The 2006 Failla Chardonnay Estate (Sonoma Coast) wine paired very well with our dinner and is a highly rated wine crafted by Failla Wines being a winery that we had not heard of prior to this dinner.  The wine itself has hints of various tropical type fruits (I noted “hints of pineapple” especially) with a fresh crisp finish that went perfectly with our selections of food throughout all courses and for that I thank Geoff Kruth, the Master Sommelier, for his recommendation.

2006 Failla Estate Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)

2006 Failla Estate Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)

From my perspective, the restaurant at Farmhouse Inn is one of the best places to enjoy a nice relaxing meal as you will enjoy fantastic food, a very nice selection of wine to choose from (and expert advice if you desire) and outstanding service.  Go there!  You will enjoy it!

Farmhouse Restaurant:  7871 River Road; Forestville, CA 95436