Review: Gary Farrell 2021 Chardonnay and Pinot Noir Russian River Selection

Summer can only mean it’s time to spend some time with Gary Farrell and its latest Russian River Selection series releases — which include chardonnay and pinot noir from two years prior. 2021 was a heavy drought year for the region, so let’s see how the resulting wines have turned out.

2021 Gary Farrell Chardonnay Russian River Selection – This year’s Russian River Selection feels more traditionally Californian than in recent vintages — heavier on oak, baked apples, and vanilla. The finish sees some acidity and mineral notes, but these are restrained beneath the more fruit- and wood-driven elements, culminating in a finish that evokes guava and papaya. A rather different spin for the iconic Sonoma-based producer. 

2021 Gary Farrell Pinot Noir Russian River Selection – Bold and extracted, this feels like the continuation of Gary Farrell’s shift toward more aggressive styles, the cherry notes moving into red currant territory, backed up with cola and tea leaf elements, subtly green on the finish. There’s ample fruit that feels like you’re biting into an overripe plum at times, while the finish sees some greener elements and baking spice notes tempering the experience.

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