Spring 2014 Release


What's in a name?

Pronounced "FAY-la", ours comes
from the Italian island of Sicily, a melting pot of southern Europeans, so it's often mistaken for Spanish or French heritage. Since we launched our website, dozens of Failla's have joined our mailing list, many during searches for ancestors and long-lost family members. Few can resist the discovery of an eponymously-named wine.

For this mailer, I didn’t feel like writing, I felt like reading and if you’ve ever been to our tasting room you know we are awash in literary wine distractions. The cache includes guides, surveys, memoirs and history. If I may be so bold, here are a very few of our favorite wine writers and escapist titles:

Adventures on the Wine Route: A Wine Buyer's Tour of France by Kermit Lynch: The 25th Anniversary Edition of this classic vinous travelogue is ensnaring a new generation of oenophiles. Discover in the prose of this “punk rock hippie of wine” what Alice Waters did: “he has illuminated the connection between the winemaker’s aesthetic sensibility and humanity, and the taste in the bottle.

Vineyard Tales by Gerald Asher: A wine lover's treasure chest of short stories from the longtime wine editor of Gourmet magazine. Entertaining anecdotes of wines and vineyards from Greece to Missouri, Burgundy to Long Island, that render Asher’s vast knowledge of food and wine a joy to read.

The Billionaire's Vinegar: The Mystery of the World's Most Expensive Bottle of Wine by Benjamin Wallace: Tells the true story of a 1787 Château Lafite Bordeaux—supposedly owned by Thomas Jefferson—that sold for $156,000 at auction and the tycoons, hucksters, connoisseurs, cheats and cults of personality that perpetuate the myth that makes wine and its acolytes a prime target for fraud.

Wine and War: The French, the Nazis, and the Battle for France's Greatest Treasure by Donald Kladstrup and Petie Kladstrup: Like others in the French Resistance during WWII, winemakers mobilized to oppose their occupiers, but the tale of their extraordinary efforts had remained largely unknown. This is the thrilling and harrowing story of the French wine producers who undertook ingenious, daring measures to save their cherished crops and bottles as the Germans closed in on them.

2012 Alban Vineyard Viognier, Edna Valley (65 cases produced)

Never a heavy-bearing site to begin with, the Alban Vineyard was still feeling the effects of the prior year’s frost in 2012, which required significant pruning. Exotic floral aromas of rose petals and citrus blossom pair with tropical notes of lychee nuts and white peaches. Fresh mid-palate juiciness is juxtaposed with laser-focused acidity making this wine fascinating to experience as it ages.

2012 Estate Vineyard Chardonnay, Fort Ross-Seaview (425 cases produced)

Dry-farming, steep slopes, rocky soils, and cool-temperatures all conspire to restrict yields and deliver intense complex fruit. These grapes were whole-cluster pressed directly into a combination of French oak barrels, 1/3 new, and a concrete egg fermenter. Mouthwatering aromas of grapefruit zest, green apple skin and pineapple core are woven throughout with classic wet stone minerality. Great grip and texture on the palate for a viscous tropical-fruit mouthfeel balanced with crisp acidity.

2012 Hudson Vineyard Chardonnay, Napa Valley (475 cases produced)

Grower Lee Hudson has reinvigorated this vineyard with new plantings of thoughtfully chosen varietals, clones and rootstock. This fruit was whole-cluster pressed into a combination of mixed-age French oak and concrete eggs. Concrete rounds texture and emphasizes aromatic purity as evidenced by the interplay of brioche and baked apple with asian pear and citrus blossom on the nose. Vibrant, mouthwatering acidity creates mid-palette tension with a creamy mouthfeel for a long yet focused finish.

2012 Haynes Vineyard Chardonnay, Coombsville (500 cases produced)

Haynes is one of the oldest continuously producing Chardonnay vineyards in Napa, a boon for acid retention. This sophomore vintage introduces some influence from concrete egg fermentation to the otherwise French oak barrel profile. Classic Wente-clone overtones of honeysuckle are joined by aromas of hay, white tea and jasmine. Elegant, precise acidity balances the weighty crème-brûlée palate, the finish confirming the wine’s intense yet lean structure.

2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (2000 cases produced)

This blend of maturing Sonoma Coast grape sources has outgrown its “young-vine” tag while still offering the pleasures of freshness and drinkability. Vinified in the same manner as our single vineyard Pinots, this vintage was aged in French oak, 20% new. Warm tones of baking spice, wild sage, balsam and classic cherry coulis. Fine tannins and bright, juicy acidity give structure to the red berry palate.

2012 Pearlessence Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast (325 cases produced)

When we found this 2-acre vineyard near the town of Sebastopol 7 years ago, we trusted the location to create lovely fruit, but we couldn’t have anticipated the wild following the wine would garner. Pearlessence has been our dark horse, our sleeper hit, our ace in the hole. We ferment in open top vessels, for ease of daily punchdowns, before aging the wine in French oak, roughly 25% new. Complex aromas of black tea, Satsuma rind, chicory and rhubarb prompt you to salivate with the promise of acid. This vintage offers a perfect synergy of lean, structured tannins and bright acid with a pomegranate finish on the palate. Will age well for 7-10 years.

2012 Keefer Ranch Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (900 cases produced)

As always, the fruit was destemmed into open-topped fermenters and punched down twice-a-day, before aging sur-lie in French oak barrels, 1/3 new. This incarnation of Keefer is rounder and richer than any prior vintage in Ehren’s hands: ripe fruit fragrance jumps out at you from the glass- cranberry etched with toasty cinnamon and grounded with earthy nutty notes of mushrooms and chestnut. Broad ripe tannins provide structure to the typical Keefer lushness. Will age well for 7-10 years.

2012 Whistler Vineyard Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast (260 cases produced)

This coastal ridge-top site lies in the northern-most reaches of Sonoma County and all three acres are exclusively Failla’s. As with all of our pinots, this wine was aged in 1/3 new French oak. During fermentation, we layered in whole-clusters to heighten the aromatics giving scents of juniper, brandied plums and black cherry a bright vibrant tone. A resiny, concentrated palate plays off silky tannins for a wine worth cellaring 7-10 years.

2012 Savoy Ranch Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley (470 cases produced)

A change in ownership of this storied vineyard west of Philo offered us an entrée to the source of many Pinots we’ve admired over the years: Littorai, Peay, Radio Coteaux to name a few. We believe our inaugural vintage does its cousins proud. The nose seduces with ripe, dark fruits such as fig and black currant, underscored with hints of peppercorn and cured meat. A savory palate with great grip is rounded by elegant, fine tannins. Will age well for 7-10 years

2012 Hudson Vineyard Syrah, Napa Valley (300 cases produced)

Also under the guiding hand of Lee Hudson, this Syrah returns after suffering the slings and arrows of the wet 2011 harvest. Ehren relies on 100% whole-cluster fermentation, highlighting the varietal’s distinctive peppery aromatics. Barreled-down in French oak, 30% new, this wine delivers a classic New-World Rhône mélange of black olive, violets, green peppercorn, lavender, and sandalwood on the nose. Fine, present tannins are enlivened by a food-friendly, spicy palate. Should evolve well for 8-10 years.

Check the events page on www.FAILLAWINES.com for details on our whirlwind Spring/Summer travel schedule. At the end of February, we’ll follow World of Pinot Noir to its new home at the Bacara Resort & Spa in Santa Barbara. Then Ehren is off to help inaugurate the West Sonoma Coast Vintners’ WOW/Chicago event in April. In May, Anne-Marie joins Ehren at Triple Creek Ranch in Montana for the resort’s 11th Annual Vintner Events pairing glamping, roping, and fly fishing, with gourmet food and wine. We return to the Sun Valley Wine Auction the third weekend in July for its Gala, Tastings and Vintner Dinners. August finds us in Sebastopol for the 4th Annual WOW festival on its home turf.

For the best chance at receiving your full order, please return your order form by March 7th. As always, we invite you to pick up your spring wine order and taste current as well as library wines at our Spring Pick-up Party on Saturday, April 26th from 11-3. In order to attend the Spring Pick-up Party, you must place your order prior to the party and RSVP no later than April 21st to Kathy@faillawines.com.


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