Owner/winemaker Matt Courtney grew up in Danville and attended Cal as a philosophy major. After graduation, he worked in area restaurants which led him to Chez Panisse and his first exposure to the world of fine wine. He began studying for the M.S. exam while working with Ken Fredickson MS at Terroir Bistro in Jackson Hole and it was there that he began to feel that winemaking, not wine tasting, was his true calling. A day spent with Jacques Ladiere in the cellars of Louis Jadot confirmed it. It was back to school, this time at UC Davis, to study viticulture and enology, and right out of school he was tapped by Helen Turley to replace his friend, Brian Marcy (Big Table Farm) as her assistant at Marcassin Vineyards. He remained there from 2005-2013 and the day after his departure started Ferren Wines with David Wherritt, a good friend from UC Berkeley. Ferren, an old English word meaning, “far or distant” encapsulates the remoteness of the Sonoma Coast, from which all the fruit for Ferren is sourced – Frei Rd., Silver Eagle, Lancel Creek. Ferren is a “must have” for any wine list and we are thrilled to be representing them. The 2018 vintage received great press. The 2019 vintage has not been rated yet, but I can tell you that it is any bit as good!
Ferren 2019 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Winemaker Notes: “As always, the Sonoma Coast Pinot noir is made with a selection of barrels from our two sources of Pinot – Frei Road Vineyard and Silver Eagle Vineyard. From the three blocks at Frei Road – two blocks of Dijon 943 and one block Dijon 115 – we use the 115 predominantly in the Sonoma Coast bottling for its exuberant blue-fruited quality. From Silver Eagle, we choose mostly neutral barrels to impart crunchy red fruit and firm palate feel. The wine continues to be made with minimal new oak and a low percentage of whole cluster for a style that is accessible and drinkable at a young age. Forest floor, black truffle, and graphite frame a core of beautifully ripe fruit. The result is an unabashedly delicious wine that is equally at home when it is poured by the glass at The French Laundry, or serving as your go-to weeknight Pinot.”
Jeb Dunnuck 96 Points (2018): “Lots of spice-laced red and black fruits, peppery underbrush, graphite, and scorched earth notions emerge from the 2018 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast. This classic Sonoma Coast beauty has medium-bodied richness, some building tannins, and a gorgeous texture and finish. It’s still tight and wound up, so give bottles a year or so in bottle. I have no doubt it will last for over a decade.”
Ferren 2019 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
Winery Notes: “This is the second vintage that we’ve worked around a core of Gap’s Crown Vineyard fruit for the Sonoma Coast bottling. The blend is roughly one-third Gap’s Crown with the other two-thirds comprised of mostly neutral barrels from the Lancel Creek, Silver Eagle, and Frei Road lots. Gap’s Crown is the crown jewel of the Petaluma Gap sub-region of the Sonoma Coast AVA. It’s a perfect centerpiece for the Sonoma Coast blend as it provides that lemon drop core to the mid palate that adds a bit of perceived sweetness to what might otherwise be an overly austere wine. With very little new oak in the blend, this wine is perhaps our most purely mineral-driven. It’s a wine meant for glass pours at the oyster bar, or early afternoon at the Bistro with the seafood tower. Notes of lemon blossom, candied citrus, and mouthwatering saline minerals make this wine easily our most versatile and accessible Chardonnay.”
Jeb Dunnuck 97 Points (2018): “Crisp apple, white flowers, hazelnuts, and chalky mineral notes make up the bulk of the aromas in the 2018 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, and it’s rich and medium to full-bodied, with terrific balance and a great finish. It’s certainly in the same realm as the single vineyard releases and should be snatched up by savvy readers.