Gary Farrell Wines Paired with Rabbit and Green Olives

Taking Gary Farrell Wines for a Spin
California is a warm place, with a beautiful Mediterranean climate, and fruit ripens without question. A vinous consequence of this warm climate is that wines can be very ripe and rich, which is appealing to many people. I find these wines just too rich to be enjoyable with most food. So when it comes to California wineries, I’m a bit apprehensive about accepting samples.

I recently was offered to try Gary Farrell’s wines. I had heard good things from several people I trust, so I decided to give them a chance and I’m so glad I did. Even though they’re rich, they are made with restraint, judicious use of oak, and they retain refreshing acidity.

Gary Farrell wines with rabbit & green olives

Gary Farrell Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are just fine for the dinner table

It’s a shame rabbit isn’t a common meat choice in the US. Rabbits are famous for multiplying rapidly, I guess you can call that “sustainable”. The meat is very mild and really, no kidding, does taste much like chicken. Anyway, I love rabbit, but Julie (my lovely wife) has a hard time eating it because of the bunny association. Consequently, I only fix rabbit when Julie isn’t around for an evening. She was gone for the weekend recently, so I had my chance to try out the Gary Farrell wines at the dinner table with Rabbit with Green Olives.

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Chardonnay 2014 (sample, $35 suggested retail)
Eye: Clear, medium+ intensity lemon yellow transitioning to a pale edge
Nose: Clean, medium intensity citrus: lemon + ripe pineapple, and a little vanilla cake.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ body, medium+ acidity, lemons, pineapple and vanilla cake persist in a medium+ length finish.

By itself, a little ripe for my taste, however, it was very nice with the rabbit dish. I am always looking for wines which can satisfy both my old world palette and our friends’ new world palettes and this wine does that. It’s not overdone, not cloying, not overly fruity or oaky. Rich and California (why not, it is!), but not over the top. Well done.

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2014

Gary Farrell Russian River Selection Pinot Noir 2014

Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2014 (sample, $45 suggested retail)
Eye: Clear, pale ruby with a long purple edge
Nose: Clean, ripe strawberries with cinnamon and a touch of cedar. Rich aroma of medium+ intensity
Mouth: Dry, medium body, medium acidity, low tannins. Very smooth mouthfeel with warm strawberries, cinnamon and cedar in a medium length finish.

Lapin aux Olives Vertes (Rabbit with Green Olives)
Both wines worked well with the rabbit dish, although I felt the Chardonnay was a better pairing. The bright tangy flavor of the olives was a bit at odds with the ripe red fruit in the Pinot Noir, but the citrus flavors in the Chardonnay seemed to match up with the olives a little more naturally.

Rabbit & Green Olives - Lapin aux Olives Vert

This recipe is from out of print Bistro Cooking by Patricia Wells. You can pick it up used on Amazon for around $10 including shipping, highly recommended! If you’re not a rabbit fan, you can easily substitute chicken.


  • 1 fresh rabbit, skinned and cut into 6 serving pieces
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 med. yellow onions, coarsely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups dry white wine (use something inexpensive, but a wine you would be willing to drink)
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, cored, seeded and chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • 1 generous cup green olives, pitted
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Season rabbit pieces liberally with salt & pepper
  • Heat EVOO in deep-sided nonreactive skillet over medium-high heat
  • Brown the rabbit pieces a few at a time in pan, turning often. Set the browned pieces aside.
  • Add onion to the pan, brown 3 to 4 minutes then sprinkle with flour and mix.
  • Add wine a little at a time (stir well between each addition)
  • Add the rabbit, tomato, bay leaves, herbs and olives; cover; reduce heat to medium; simmer until rabbit is done (about 20 minutes).
  • To serve: remove bay leaves; spoon rabbit, vegetables and sauce onto 4 warm plates; accompany with rice or fresh pasta.

Local Sources:

Disclosure: The wines were provided as samples, all opinions expressed are mine.

Gary Farrell wines paired with Rabbit & Green Olives. visit


8 Responses to “Gary Farrell Wines Paired with Rabbit and Green Olives”
  1. Tommy says:

    De-bone the rabbit and add it to a casserole, she’ll never know. I did that with venison for my first wife. She always thought it was beef.

  2. lgowdy says:

    Couldn’t agree with you more about rabbit Jeff! I’ll bet the dish ‘sans’ olives would be nice with the Pinot. While I can’t get one here (the Gary Farrel), I’ll try this recipe with other Pinots, merci!

    • Thanks, Lynn. The dish is one of many versions of the classic “Hunters (fill in the blank)”, easy to make and adaptable to a wind variety of ingredients. I’ll be interested to hear if you come up with something good (plus Bourgogne wines have a little more earth, so they may handle the olives anyway).

  3. I enjoy rabbit. I agree it really does taste like chicken & is quite sustainable. I am a Gary Farrell Pinot Noir fan. Never had the Chardonnay. My palate is similar to yours yet I find there are some meals that pair very well with richer styled wines. Cheers!

    • Thanks, Michelle. The Gary Farrell wines were rich, but not at all over the top. I even like over the top wines with certain foods – like BBQ with a sweet sauce!

  4. Lisa Denning says:

    I will definitely be trying this recipe, but maybe substituting chicken for the rabbit 😉

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