Failla, Haynes Vineyard, Coombsville, Chardonnay 2015


Vinous 93/00: The 2015 Chardonnay Haynes Vineyard, from a site in Coombsville, is superb. Deep, pliant and flavorful, but not at all heavy, the 2015 is full of personality. All things considered, the Haynes is a remarkably fresh, nuanced Chardonnay in a year that tended towards heaviness. Ripe orchard fruit, chamomile and dried flowers meld into the inviting, textured finish. Judging by the wine’s freshness, Ehren Jordan picked this fruit on the early side. That seems to have been a spot on decision.

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While the history of Failla (pronounced FAY-LA) is short, it is not without its complexities – our first vintage release was as Failla-Jordan in 1998. That year, Failla’s first release of Alban Vineyard Viognier (Edna Valley) and Que Syrah Syrah (Sonoma Coast) coincided with planting the first blocks at our Estate Vineyard in Cazadero. The first Estate releases would be several years away.
Ehren loves to experiment with his favorite varietals, coaxing out their various incarnations from different climates (cool, cooler, and coolest), soil types, and rootstock.
In 1998 we bought a parcel contiguous to our first purchase from a few years earlier. In 2002 it was planted with five acres of rootstock before grafting Pinot Noir clones the following year. Ehren’s viticultural training in France greatly influence his farming and winemaking choices, so that our eleven acres of Estate vineyards today produce Syrah, Chardonnay, and Pinot Noir that capture the essence of California’s coolest regions.
After cutting his teeth on Pinot Noir in 1999 with fruit from Keefer Ranch Vineyard in Russian River Valley, Ehren began seeking out enough unique, cool-climate Pinot Noir sources to galvanize his urge to tinker for years to come.
Our Pinot program eventually came to include wines from Hirsch Vineyard (2001), Occidental Ridge (2005), Peay Vineyard & Pearlessence Vineyard (2006), Whistler Vineyard (2009), Savoy Vineyard (2012) and Platt Vineyard (2015). We have also recently headed north, adding a single vineyard wine sourced from the highly acclaimed and Seven Springs Vineyard in Oregon’s Eola-Amity AVA.
Chardonnay and Syrah are especially important to us as well, with Failla now boasting eight different bottlings of Chardonnay and three of Syrah. Sourcing from such venerable Napa locations as the Hudson Vineyard in Carneros and the Haynes Vineyard in Coombsville, the Failla Chardonnay stable continues to grow. On the Sonoma side, we purchased a gorgeous plot of land on Olivet Road (adjacent to the famed Olivet Vineyard) which has produced Chardonnay for us since 2013.
Syrah has long been near and dear to Ehren’s heart – having been the first grapes he farmed and fermented when he worked for Cornas’ Jean Luc Colombo in the early 1990’s. Not only are we working with two established vineyards – Hudson in Napa and Kick Ranch in Sonoma – we grow and bottle our own from our Estate Vineyard in western Sonoma County – just a few miles off the Pacific Coast.


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