Situated as we are on the Silverado Trail, we thought you might be interested in a glimpse of the pioneering drama that predates our efforts on this historic bit of byway. Built in 1852, it was the first permanent road from Napa to Calistoga, intended to ferry produce as well as tourists to the new resorts sprouting up around the natural hot sulfur springs in the upper valley. It was not until 1872, when miners by the hundreds, lured by a silver claim staked at the base of Mt. St. Helena, moved to the area creating Silverado City, that the Trail earned its current moniker. The mines also attracted highwaymen, in pursuit of the lucrative payrolls delivered by regular stage coach service. During the excavation for our cave, Ehren unearthed a silver half-dollar dated “1853”. Given that the original route of the Trail runs behind our winery, just uphill to the east of where it now sits, we suspect that coin escaped a money bag in the throws of a rough “hold-up”. The notorious “Black Bart” was apprehended here in 1883, but the Silverado Trail would not be safe for wine tasters until motorized vehicles were introduced in 1910.
Speaking of highway robbery, FAILLA will again be contributing to the Robin Hood-like efforts of Hospices of Sonoma, which kicks up its heels May 3-4 to raise money for organizations benefiting children at risk. To ring in the event, Ehren and Anne-Marie will host a FAILLA winemaker dinner on Friday, May 2 at our Adirondack Camp inspired “Tasting Lodge”. Twenty guests will enjoy several courses of Ehren’s favorite dishes each paired with a wine from the Failla library. To sign up for the dinner visit www.hospicesofsonoma.org. On Saturday afternoon, the Pinot Noir Barrel Tasting & Big Board Auction will be held in the Pacific Coast Museum at Sonoma County Airport. During this wine and food extravaganza, guests bid on 35-40 half-barrel lots of specially crafted Sonoma County Pinot Noirs from the 2007 vintage. As he did last year, Ehren hand-selected a single block of the Hirsch Vineyard to vinify specifically for our Hospice half-barrel donation.
As a testament to the country’s passionate love-affair with Pinot Noir, Ehren will also attend the 2008 World of Pinot Noir in March and join more than 90 other producers for the sold out Pinot Noir by the Sea Tasting at The Cliffs Resort. We hope some of you Pinotfiles have tickets and can stop by the Failla table to say hello or raise a glass with Ehren at the Paulee dinner later that night. If you don’t have tickets and feel bad about it, then plan on attending same time next year as this event just keeps getting better. If you don’t have tickets and don’t feel bad, then have another sip of the Failla Syrah you are probably drinking instead. We’re certain Planet of Syrah is just around the corner.
But I digress. Making its debut among our troupe of Pinots in this release, the Pearlessence Pinot Noir comes to us courtesy of the 2-acre vineyard planted and farmed by Greg and Linda Pearl near the town of Sebastopol in the Sonoma Coast appellation. Planted in Goldridge Loam, the vines enjoy a Westerly exposure, warm summer days with cool overnight temperatures and morning fog. Consummate hosts, the Pearls built a small inn surrounded by water gardens on the property.
2006 Edna Valley Viognier, Alban Vineyard (175 cases produced)
Picked in early-October this fruit was whole-cluster pressed into neutral French oak barrels, and allowed to ferment on native yeast at a languorous pace, giving flavors time to develop and integrate. The Viognier completed malolactic fermentation before being bottled the following September. Edna Valley’s cool marine-influenced climate is ideal for this Rhône varietal, responsible for explosive aromatics of honeysuckle, white jasmine, orange blossom and undercurrents of tropical fruit. The round full-bodied mouthfeel is balanced by bright, vibrant acidity all underscored with hints of white pepper and Meyer lemon on the long persistent finish.
2006 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay, Estate Vineyard (290 cases produced)
Located 2.5 miles inland from the rugged Sonoma Coast, at an elevation of 1400 feet, our estate vineyard is planted on rocky soils and steep slopes, challenges that produce low yields and consequently more concentrated flavors. Harvested in mid-September, these grapes were whole-cluster pressed directly into half new and half neutral French oak barrels. Fermentation using native yeasts lasted ten months, a marathon that creates more complexity and subtly in the wine. Big, expressive aromas of lush tropical fruit, toasty brioche and vanilla lead in to a rich viscose mouthfeel redolent of crème brulée and balanced by flinty minerality and a long finish.
2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, Pearlessence Vineyard (140 cases produced)
Picked in early October, the fruit was destemmed into open-topped fermenters and treated to twice daily manual punch downs during fermentation. After aging sur-lee for 12 months in French oak barrels, ¼ of which were new, we bottled the Pearlessence unfiltered the following October . A complex nose of roasted herbs, geranium and currants are underscored by hints of baking spice and tea. Refined, ethereal tannins make for a delicate mouthfeel and a minerally, Burgundian finish. Drink over the next 4 - 6 years.
2006 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (500 cases produced)
The Sonoma Coast is a blend of blocks from our multiple Sonoma Coast appellation sources, primarily the younger-vine blocks at our flagship vineyard, Keefer Ranch and Hirsch Vineyard. Treated to the same pampered handling as our vineyard designated Pinots, the Sonoma Coast is aged in 20% new French oak. Red fruit aromas of pomegranate and cherries mingle with spicy toasty notes of caramelized sugar. Fine tannins give structure to the concentrated, sappy mouthfeel on the palette, for an elegant finish. Enjoy now or age 3 to 5 years.
2006 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, Keefer Ranch (625 cases produced)
Picked in late September, the fruit was destemmed into open-topped fermenters and treated to twice daily manual punch downs during fermentation. After aging sur-lee for 12 months in French oak barrels, 1/3 of which were new, the wine was bottled unfiltered the following October. Intensely aromatic, this Pinot offers a brooding nose of dark cherries, spice, mint, and rose petals while delivering a huge chewy mouthfeel with structured, powerful tannins, and well-integrated oak. Decant well ahead of drinking to experience the building, evolving nuances of flavors; this wine will age well for 5-7 years.
2006 Napa Valley Syrah, Phoenix Ranch (375 cases produced)
Picked in mid-October, the fruit was split into one tank of fully destemmed fruit and a second tank including 80% whole clusters to introduce the classic northern Rhône element of peppery aromatics. After fermentation, the wine was barreled-down into French oak, 1/3 new. Heady aromas of bacon fat, black pepper, crushed violets, blueberries and graphite announce this classic French-style Syrah. This dense, full-bodied wine beguiles with mid-palette fruit and fine tannins that yield to a lingering finish redolent of savory black olives and bakers chocolate. Decant in advance, to drink now. Will evolve and age well for 8-10 years.
For the best chance at receiving your full order, please return the enclosed order form by March 14. We will begin shipping on Monday, March 31. Orders received after March 14 will ship on the subsequent dates of April 14 and April 28 and then as received.
Fall 2007 Release Newsletter
Spring 2007 Release Newsletter
Fall 2006 Release Newsletter
Spring 2006 Release Newsletter