Fall 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.

"Failla has opened a tasting room on the Silverado Trail! I heard that yawn and I know what many of you veterans are thinking: "If you've seen one tasting room you've seen 'em all". Maybe: "A 'Salon' by any other name is a stuffy tasting room". Or perhaps: "Belly up to the tasting bar with 50 of your closest strangers". Fear not - we decided to be different. With gaggles of wild turkeys taunting Ehren when unarmed and the possibility of mountain lions every spring, the house felt like a hunting lodge which inspired our nod to the venerable Adirondack Camp. Think overstuffed chairs vs. overpriced pours; mounted 12-pointer vs. vaunted 88-pointer; Ornithological Society vs. Oenological Society." Some of you may remember that introduction of our Tasting Lodge from a mailer sent 8 years ago, but my guess is most of you have discovered Failla more recently and perhaps have never even visited us here at the source!

Well newsflash: We have revamped our tasting offerings so that neophytes, acolytes and troglodytes will all find a tasting experience to suite. First-timers often enjoy a seated tasting in the Tasting Lodge itself. This choice tends to be the most social as we accommodate up to 8 people lounging on the cozy furniture as if attending a casual dinner party. Four wines are poured, typically one white and three reds, as an avid Failla Ambassador regales you with stories of the winery, property and history as well as our general philosophy. During our copious warm months, we can accommodate parties greater than eight in our shaded Courtyard.

If you are a returning Pinot Pilgrim, we have designed two new experiences during which to pay your respects. The Cave Tour and Tasting adds a tour of our property and 15,000 square foot cave where you remain, in the grotto-like coolness, for a seated tasting of 5 current releases. This tasting is semi-private, with at most two groups to introduce to one another and exchange guesses on the antler chandelier: real or fake, elk or deer, treasure hunt or trophy? The Private Spotlight Tasting, our most exclusive and intimate offering, is also conducted underground in the rustic chic lounge and focuses on our single vineyard designates with 6 wines tailored to your specific interests. For example, compare Chardonnays across three different AVAs, taste various Pinots grown within mere miles of one another, or leave it to us to surprise you.

Now please indulge us in waxing rhapsodic about the wines we present to you with this release. They are some of the most complex, ethereal, beautifully-integrated wines Ehren has ever produced. Our generally circumspect staff offered unabashedly euphoric descriptors while tasting: Glorious, Remarkable, Off-the-Charts, Brilliant, Redemption! We feel such a pervasive sense of pride and joy that we may include cigars with each shipment. Intense aromatics explode from the glass and challenge definition. A vibrating sense of energy and tension on the palate draws out eternal finishes and translates corporeally. Tannins emerge so fine-grained, they bely the power and structure delivered by the laser-focused acidity of cool-climate viticulture. This is a vintage for the ages, to both enjoy now and cellar over a decade to relish its evolution.

2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay (1000 cases produced)

This vintage blossoms more each month so consider picking up some more before its gone. We split half of this fruit between concrete egg and stainless steel with the remainder fermented and aged in French oak, barely perceptible in the wine's aromas of wet-stone, lime and oyster-shell. The round, glycerin finish balances the wine's vibrant mouth-watering acidity.

2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay, Keefer Ranch (480 cases produced)

Whole-cluster pressed directly into concrete egg fermenters (25%) and French oak, 1/3 new, for about 10 months of aging, the '12 offers diverse aromatics of almond paste, Gravenstein apple, brioche and a Meursault-like nuttiness. The leanest of this offering's Chardonnays, the Keefer palate comes alive with enervated acidity, a leesy quality in the background and a broad finish.

2012 Sonoma Valley Chardonnay, Chuy Vineyard (485 cases produced)

At 50 years of age, this vineyard deserves its own dedicated concrete-egg, where a quarter of the wine fermented and aged while the remainder lay sur lie in primarily neutral French oak. The powerful aromatics are more floral: jasmine, green tea and cedar, with hints of cherry pie. Well integrated oak and fine-grained texture round and balance the nervy acidity on the palette.

2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, (2000 cases produced)

This is the last chance to secure a supply of this vintage, which is virtually singing at the moment. Vinified in the same kid-glove manner as our single vineyard Pinots, the 2012 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 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Peay Vineyard (205 cases produced)

Like all our pinots this fruit gets a 3 day cold soak for color extraction, daily manual punchdowns and 1/3 new oak French barrel-aging. We included 15% whole-clusters this vintage for intense aromatics of pomegranate, blackberry and balsam. The palate shows great balance and tension between broad tannins and focused natural acidity courtesy of coastal ridgetop vineyards.

2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Occidental Ridge Vineyard (575 cases produced)

The fruit from this vineyard shows the hallmarks of omnipresent fog and mist: its trademark savory nose offers juniper, sous-bois, fennel and cranberry. Despite the wine's earthy intro, there is no need to decant it first as the well-integrated acidity holds its own with fine-grained tannins. Shows great length and concentration with a bit of tobacco on the focused finish.

2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Hirsch Vineyard (660 cases produced)

The Pommard block is a hillside planting with multiple exposures that provides tones of bright cherry, anise, dusty rose and black tea on the nose. Alongside the power of this vintage, the Mt. Eden clone provides balance with the classic Hirsch elegance of a structured palate with a core of freshness and ripe juicy fruit. Expect 10-12 years of cellaring, and decant to drink now.

2012 Fort Ross-Seaview Pinot Noir, Estate Vineyard (230 cases produced)

Our vineyard is dry-farmed and tightly-spaced, conditions that raise a hardy plant able to set concentrated fruit even in drought conditions. Always the most exotic of the fall release, the Estate's nose is redolent of sandalwood, white pepper, black tea, India ink and balsam. Resolved, silky tannins beg for wild meats and make this a wine to enjoy for 7-10 years.

2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, "Vivien" (100 cases produced)

After 12 months of barrel-aging, Ehren selects one barrel each from four single vineyard lots, to blend and age for another 4 months. Florals pervade the complex bouquet of enticing red fruits: frais de bois and currant (from Keefer), woven with savory spices and white pepper (hallmarks of Occidental Ridge). Great weight and palate presence are the result of well-structured acidity (from our Estate) and resolved, elegant tannins (via Hirsch) for a wine worth cellaring 7-10 years.

2012 Fort Ross-Seaview Syrah, Estate Vineyard (230 cases produced)

100% whole-cluster fermentation concentrates this varietal's distinctive peppery aromatics. Barreled-down in French oak, one-third new, this wine seduces with a roux of ground pepper, violets, fleshy green olive and baking spices on the nose. The palate on this vintage stuns with a balance between power and a restrained elegance. Should evolve well for 8-10 years.

Crush is here so consider reserving a seat at one of our Harvest Lunches, held Wednesdays-Fridays from September 10 to October 24. Enjoy gourmet meals paired with current releases and conversation with our winemaking crew. Contact kathy@faillawines.com to book.

Please return your order by September 22nd. In the fall, we include shipping on the first full case of wine. You are also invited to retrieve and reinforce your order at our Pick-up Party on Saturday, October 4th from 11am to 3pm. Expect to taste current as well as library wines paired with delectable comestibles. In order to attend, place your order and RSVP to Kathy@faillawines.com.


Spring 2014 Release Newsletter

Fall 2013 Release Newsletter

Spring 2013 Release Newsletter

Fall 2012 Release Newsletter

Spring 2012 Release Newsletter

Fall 2011 Release Newsletter

Spring 2011 Release Newsletter

Fall 2010 Release Newsletter

Spring 2010 Release Newsletter

Fall 2009 Release Newsletter

Spring 2008 Release Newsletter

Fall 2007 Release Newsletter

Spring 2007 Release Newsletter

Fall 2006 Release Newsletter

Spring 2006 Release Newsletter