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3 Stunning Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs From Cobb Wines

3 Stunning Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs From Cobb Wines

If you love genuine site-driven pinot noir, Sonoma Coast is either on your radar or should be. It’s a cool growing region that’s also filled with a wide diversity of sites.

David and Ross Cobb established the family’s Coastlands Vineyard there in 1989. Ross Cobb’s experience includes stints at Williams Selyem, Hirsch, and Flowers, each known for exquisite pinot noirs. His experience at that trio of producers as well as at the family’s own winery means that he has incredible knowledge of almost every vineyard on the far western Sonoma Coast.

The pinot noirs from Cobb are distinct, vineyard-driven expressions of the grape. The fruit in each of them screams out and is gently accented and highlighted by the judicious use of oak. Two of these wines come in at under 13 percent ABV and one is just a bit over at 13.3 percent. There’s proportion, nuance, and elegance to spare across the board here. Cobb wines are small-lot affairs at just a couple of hundred cases apiece; if you really love expertly grown, tended, and bottled pinots that speak of place, get some of Cobb's.

Considering the quality, singularity, and wow factor in each bottle, I imagine it won’t be too long before these are allocated wines that become difficult to get your hands on, so start looking for them now. It’s nearly impossible to overstate how fantastic this trio of pinot noirs is. As for those other producers Cobb worked with, these wines surpass those. The tension between fruit and acid that ties them together makes them incredibly exciting.

Cobb Wines Emmaline Ann Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 ($75)
All of the fruit came from the namesake vineyard, which is all of three acres in size. Only 310 cases were produced. Red fruit and savory herbs inform the nose. Bits of cranberry, red delicious apple, cherry, and spice fill the mouthwatering palate. The long finish exhibits bits of earth, mushroom, and continued red fruit flavors.

Cobb Wines Rice-Spivak Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 ($75)
The Cobbs have worked with this vineyard since 2003, and they make all the farming decisions. It’s planted to the Swan and Dijon Noir clones. Production was 310 cases. Hints of barnyard and engaging red fruit aromas leap from the glass once you pour the wine. In the first sip, sour red fruits, spice, and mushroom lead the way. The impressive finish shows off a hint of toasted chestnut, cranberry, and a tremendous core of spices. A rock-solid core of acidity keeps it all in check.

Cobb Wines Coastlands Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014 ($80)
The fruit is from a single block within the Cobb vineyard, planted in 1998. They named it the 1906 Block since the first rancher on this land carved that date — the year of the great San Francisco earthquake — into a tree on the property. It’s planted to the Pommard clone. A mere 200 cases were produced. Savory herb aromas lead the charge followed by dark fruits. The palate is stuffed to the brim with cherry, blueberry, and red plum flavors that are underpinned by spice and floral elements. The impossibly long, acid-rich finish shows off continued fruit, minerals, earth, and a hint of thyme.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Finally, A Virtual Wine Tasting That Feels Like the Real Thing

Sonoma Magazine contributor Jess Lander tried a dozen virtual wine tastings and found a favorite. Here's what happened.

Slide 1 of 8

The Sip & Savor Through Sonoma virtual experience with Healdsburg’s Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery includes a tour, tasting, and food pairing. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 2 of 8

The virtual experience begins with a tour of the cellar, barrel room, and the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 3 of 8

Virtual tasting host Kevin Patterson, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator, teased the group with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. (Courtesy of Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery)

Slide 4 of 8

The tasting kit comes with three recipes curated by renowned chef Charlie Palmer to pair with the Pinot Noir. (Courtesy of Dry Creek Kitchen)

Slide 5 of 8

The recipes are from past Pigs & Pinot events, which typically takes place every March in Healdsburg. (Courtesy photo)

Slide 6 of 8

The pairings included a coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprout and celery salad with pickled onions. (Jess Lander)

Slide 7 of 8

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines, enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

Slide 8 of 8

Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. (Courtesy of Three Sticks Wines)

As a wine and travel writer, I used to spend several days a week tasting wine at wineries (tough gig, I know). Now, in the time of coronavirus, I still taste wine but I do it from my couch. Over the past few weeks, I’ve participated in roughly a dozen virtual tasting experiences —some more fun and unique than others. One of my favorites so far is the Sip & Savor Through Sonoma tasting with Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. Taking place via Zoom, this interactive experience transported me to the Healdsburg winery with a tour, tasting, and food pairing. Here’s what happened.

The Salon at Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery. (Courtesy photo)

The Tour

Gary Farrell Vineyards & Winery is located in a fairly quiet stretch of Westside Road just south of Healdsburg. The winery specializes in Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley and, as a Russian River Pinot enthusiast, I’ve counted it among my favorite wineries for a long time.

Gary Farrell’s virtual experience begins with a tour of the winery’s cellar and barrel room. Our host, estate Sommelier & Wine Educator Kevin Patterson, used his camera to walk me and a few fellow writers through this area of the winery while speaking about different winemaking practices. Just like a normal tour, we were encouraged to ask questions along the way.

Next, Patterson showed us around the Salon, the sleek and intimate hospitality center the winery completed in 2017, and teased us with the panoramic view from the estate terrace. Since I’d been there before, it brought back happy memories from a few years prior.

The Sip & Savor Sonoma experience features a tasting of two Garry Farrell wines, a Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. (Courtesy photo)

The Tasting

The tasting portion of the experience included two wines: the 2017 Olivet Lane Chardonnay and the 2015 Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir . The Gary Farrell team shared their screen with us for each wine and played an educational video about the vineyard, featuring winemaker Theresa Heredia and the respective vineyard owners.

The Russian River Valley is expansive and has several microclimates—best described as neighborhoods—each imparting unique characteristics on the wines (different flavors, aromas, textures, etc.). Both of the wines we tasted are single-vineyard designates, giving true expression of the place, or neighborhood, in which they were grown.

The elegant and balanced Olivet Lane Chardonnay is sourced from a vineyard planted in 1975—those are pretty old vines by California standards. This wine represents the Santa Rosa Plain, a sloping bench land that’s sandwiched between a warm and cool microclimate. Meanwhile, the Gap’s Crown Pinot Noir comes from the cool and windy Petaluma Gap, which is known for producing full-bodied, rich, and structured wines. At five years old, this Pinot clearly had a lot of life left in it and the potential to age well.

Chef Charlie Palmer curated recipes for the food pairing portion of the experience. (Jess Lander)

The Food Pairing

The tasting kit I received included three recipe cards, curated by celebrity chef Charlie Palmer. Featuring selections from past Pigs & Pinot events — Palmer’s annual food and wine extravaganza — the dishes included coffee-brined pork tenderloin and a Brussel sprouts and celery salad with pickled onions.

Making the food pairings was optional but, with the tasting scheduled on a Saturday afternoon and with not much else to do these days, my husband and I decided it would be fun to put our cooking skills to the test. This did require some planning ahead — the brine, for example, had to be made the night before. I was a little nervous preparing recipes from one of the top chefs in Wine Country, but they were surprisingly easy to follow. The winery also provided a helpful video of Palmer preparing the meal.

As it turned out, I was the only participant on this media-only wine tasting that had prepared the food pairings — I think most other participants regretted this once they saw my plate and heard my enthusiastic reviews of the flavorful dishes.

As for how the food went with the wine, the Pinot complemented the pork tenderloin perfectly and, while Brussel sprouts are notoriously difficult to pair with wine, the salad also worked with the Pinot and didn’t add any additional bitterness. With my belly full and mind happy, it was a Saturday well spent at home.

Sip & Savor Through Sonoma can be booked as a standalone experience with Gary Farrell Vineyards and Winery but was created in partnership with Sonoma’s Three Sticks Wines , enabling guests to virtually visit two wineries, much like they would on a typical visit to Wine Country. Hosted from their historic 1842 Adobe, the Three Sticks experience also includes a tour, tasting of two wines, and food pairings from chef Armando Navarro of El Dorado Kitchen. The cost is $250 or $125 for one winery.


Watch the video: 2010 Cobb Pinot Noir Coastlands Vineyard Elegant And Complex Premium Red Wine From Sonoma California (December 2021).