Failla Wines Johnston RI
Prudence Island, RI
Failla Spring 2010 Releases
Failla ( FAY-la) is a small family winery owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Ehren Jordan and Anne-Marie Failla. Founded in 1988, Failla produces outstanding handcrafted Syrah, Chardonnay, Viognier and Pinot Noir. Pinot Noir represents some 70% of Failla’s total production and consists of several vineyard designated bottlings from the Sonoma Coast and Russian River.
Failla sources most of its Pinot Noir fruit from vineyards that mainly lie along the Sonoma Coast. Until recently, its wines were made at Turley Wine Cellars, but now Ehren and Anee-Marie have their own winery and charming tasting lodge on the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley. Ehren’s winemaking regime for Pinot Noir is similar to those of California’s best Pinot pioneers like Josh Jensen (Calera) and Burt Williams (Williams-Selyem). He harvests fruit in small containers, carefully sorts bunches prior to destemming, uses open top fermenters (3-5 tons) and wild yeasts, and does punch downs of the caps. He transfers the free-run and pressed wine to French barrels, up to 1/3 of which are new.
We have reviewed many of Ehren Jordan’s wines over the years, including last year’s Spring releases and some of the magnificent Zinfandels and Petite Sirahs produced for Turley Wine Cellars. He is a talented winemaker (and pilot), and his passion for producing top quality and distinctive wines shines through in the Pinot Noir reviewed here. Failla’s wines are produced in small quantities and thus are difficult to find. To sign up for their mailing list go to www.faillawines.com
Our tasting notes and ratings of Failla’s new 2010 Spring releases are as follows:
Failla 2008 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($34) 89
This medium dark ruby Pinot Noir is a blend of young-vine blocks from various Sonoma Coast sources. Aged in 25% new French oak, it offers dark cherry cola and white pepper aromas. On the palate it reveals a lovely silky texture, excellent balance, firm round tannins, and a long, nicely focused finish.
Failla 2008 Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch Russian River Valley ($45) 92
The Keefer Ranch is a delicious Pinot Noir. Aged for 12 months in French barriques, 1/3 new, it offers very ripe and well focused cherry and plum fruit aromas and flavors followed by an elegantly textured palate with good concentration and perfect balance. A somewhat stronger effort than the 2007 bottling.
Failla 2007 Pinot Noir Hirsch Sonoma Coast ($65) 93
This Pinot Noir from the outstanding Hirsch Vineyard offers a dark ruby color and a complex nose of dark cherry fruit, light smoke, toast and minerals. It has a soft and lush attack with silky texture on the palate, ripe concentrated fruit flavors, excellent acidity and balance, and a long finish. A jewel of a wine, and every bit as good as the 2007 vintage.
Failla 2008 Pinot Noir Pearlessence Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($40) 90
The fruit forward dark ruby Pearlessence Vineyard exhibits r...
Failla Vineyards - New Pinot Noir Releases
Failla Vineyards - New Pinot Noir Releases
During my trip to California in mid-January, I had the opportunity to visit with Ehren Jordan and taste some of his new Pinot Noir releases. Ehren has been producing some wonderful wines at Turley Wine Cellars, Neyers Vineyards and Failla, which he jointly owns and manages with his wife, Anne-Marie. While Ehren has focused on big reds like Zinfandel, Syrah, and Petite Syrah---many of which the International Wine Review has previously reviewed, he has also been producing some exciting Pinot Noirs. Reviews of recent releases follow.
Failla sources most of its Pinot Noir fruit from vineyards which mainly lie along the Sonoma Coast. Until recently, Failla wines were made at Turley Wine Cellars, but now Ehren and Anee-Marie have their own winery and tasting room in Napa Valley. Ehren’s winemaking regime for Pinot Noir is consistent with those of California’s best Pinot pioneers like Josh Jensen (Calera) and Burt Williams (Williams-Selyem). He harvests fruit in small containers, carefully sorts bunches prior to destemming, uses open top fermenters (3-5 tons) and wild yeasts, and does punch downs of the caps. He transfers the free-run and pressed wine to French barrels, up to 1/3 of which are new.
Here are my tasting notes on Failla Vineyard’s new releases:
Failla 2007 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast ($34) 90
This delicious Pinot Noir is a blend of young vines from the Hirsch, Keefer and smaller vineyards from which Failla sources fruit. Medium ruby in color, it exhibits aromas of ripe red berry fruit and baking spice and a soft attack with flavors of dark cherries, a touch of new wood and loam. It is also beautifully balanced with good acidity and a firm long lasting finish. Affordable and drinkable now.
Failla 2007 Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch, Russian River Valley ($45) 91
Dark ruby in color, the Keefer Ranch Pinot exhibits aromas of red and black fruit with notes of black pepper. Aged sur lie for 12 months in 1/3 new French oak, it is very ripe (almost “sappy”) but still has terrific natural acidity and good structure. The attack is smooth, and the flavors of black fruit and plum are rich and delicious with tannins completely under control.
Failla 2006 Pinot Noir Peay Vineyard, Sonoma Coast ($48) 92
A Pinot Noir with light and delicate raspberry aromas and a silky textured palate of richly flavored red berry fruit. The fruit is sourced from the Peay Vineyard, an extremely cold and remote site on the north Sonoma Coast. Produced with some ripe whole cluster fruit, the wine is elegant on the palate with soft tannins and a lasting aftertaste.
Failla 2006 Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard Sonoma Coast ($65) 93
Not surprisingly, this Pinot Noir-- sourced from one of California’s top cool climate vineyards-- is an outstanding accomplishment. It is a wine that comes closest to some of the best Burgundies, offering ripe high toned cherry and raspberry aromas wi...