I recently had the pleasure of meeting the delightful Anne-Marie Failla and tasting through the impressive line of Failla Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. She and her husband Ehren Jordan founded Failla (pronounced FAY-la) in 1998 with the intent of producing elegant, cool-climate Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with a distinctly Old World flair – I think they’ve achieved their goal!
Anne-Marie is Failla’s CFO and Ehren is winemaker, cutting his teeth in winemaking with stints at Marcassin as Helen Turley’s winemaking assistant and then later working with her brother Larry Turley where he eventually took over as General Manager, Winemaker and Viticulturalist at Turley Wine Cellars. Ehren’s viticultural training in France has also infused his farming and winemaking choices so that their estate vineyards today produce Rhône-style Syrah, Chablis-like Chardonnay and Burgundian Pinot Noir.
This wine is a lovely introduction to the Failla line which is most definitely worth exploring. The couple’s 85 acre property on the Sonoma Coast is located about 2.5 miles from the Pacific Ocean and their estate vineyards are situated at approximately 1,000 feet elevation, just above the fog line. Neighbors include such esteemed names as Marcassin, Flowers, Hirsch, and Peter Michael. In addition to their estate fruit, they also purchase grapes from such renowned vineyards as Hirsch, Keefer Ranch and Alban and their wines are currently garnering much critical acclaim.
The 2012 Failla Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is a blend of Sonoma Coast grape sources and the harvested fruit was destemmed into open-topped fermenters and punched down twice-a-day, before aging sur lie. The wine was then aged in French oak (20% new) resulting in warm tones of baking spice, wild sage, balsam and cherry coulis. Fine tannins and bright, juicy acidity give structure to the red berry palate.
Varietal Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Appellation: Sonoma Coast, California
Cases Produced: 2,000
Drinking Window: 2014-2017
Ratings: 90 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
Price: $37, available at The Wine Atelier by clicking here and enter code “FAILLA10″ during checkout to receive 10% off your purchase of 6 bottles or more. Offer good through tomorrow, March 7th so order now!