James Suckling 92
Lots of ripe-fruit aromas of crushed currants and raspberries with some sandalwood and violets. Medium to full body with round, juicy tannins and a flavorful finish. Very fruity cab, but not overdone. Drink or hold.
Wine Advocate 91
Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon offers up vibrant scents of crushed blackcurrants, black raspberries and redcurrant jelly with hints of pencil shavings, red roses and menthol plus a waft of dark chocolate. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has a great intensity of crunchy black fruits with lots of red berry accents and a fine-grained texture, finishing with great length and freshness.-LPB
Farella Vineyard was established in the mid-1970s when Frank Farella purchased land in Coombsville, a few miles west of downtown Napa. In the decades that followed, Farella Vineyard has been synonymous with the identity of this part of Napa Valley. Franks son Tom Farella has been the winemaker and manager for many years and in fact was the driving force behind the establishment of the Coombsville AVA. Tom studied at UC Davis and earned his degree in Viticulture and Enology in 1983. His first winery stint after college was for Lou Preston at Preston Vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley in neighboring Sonoma County. He also gained valuable international perspective on wine making from time working at Domaine Jaques Prieur in Burgundy and Beaux-Frres in Oregon, before settling into his full-time role at his familys winery in 1990.
The wines themselves are just the tip of a much larger iceberg: in addition to being an uncommonly talented winemaker, Tom Farella supplies grapes to many of Napas most prestigious names. Because his main business is as a grape farmer and his own wines represent a tiny fraction of his overall production, he is able to make wines to suit his own palate. Toms preferred style is miles away from the recent trend for confected fruit and alcohol levels pushing 16, rather, his wines read as an update of the classical Napa style of the 1970s and 1980s, emphasizing freshness, balance and moderate alcohol levels.
Toms preference is for no-till farming and integrative pest management. He uses minimal sulfur and in general prefers low-intervention winemaking, but his education affords him a deep understanding of all the tools in the winemakers arsenal and he is not afraid to bring them to bear if the situation warrants.
Farella's winemaking goal is to create delicious wines that enhance any meal. The emphasis is on layers of complexity and wines worthy of aging. The Sauvignon Blanc is a light, refreshing wine that emulates the white wines of Northern Italy, aged in stainless steel without malolactic fermentation. This wine has been made since their first commercial vintage in 1985. The Merlot, normally blended with a portion of Cabernet Sauvignon, is a supple wine with intriguing berry/cassis fruit and spice character. In 1991, they added Cabernet Sauvignon as a varietal to produce a very rich, ample and complex wine styled for fans of classically balanced Napa Cabernet, with restrained fruit and judicious use of new oak (50 on average). These three wines comprise most of the very modest production of 1800-2000 cases, but rounding out the lineup are occasional releases of tiny amounts of Malbec (a delicious rarity in Napa) and his incredibly rare (65 cases) Alta, an old-fashioned blend of Cabernet and Merlot co-fermented in open wood vats. Tom also keeps library stock of wines going back to the 1990s that he can occasionally be persuaded to part with. Keep an eye out for these: if you blink, youll miss them!. ~ Winery notes
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