92 points - Wine & Spirits
90+ points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
In 2011, California saw very unusual weather, with a very wet winter, cool temperatures throughout the year, and some early rain in the fall in the northern part of the state. For this reason the vintage has suffered a lot of criticism in the wine press, but this kind of generalization has led to many excellent wines being overlooked. Depending on the timing of grape ripening, some vineyards weren't affected by the rain at all. Still others were in areas that really didn't see a huge amount of rain at all. Today's offering comes from just such a vineyard: Bien Nacido in the Santa Maria Valley. Bien Nacido is an iconic California Pinot Noir vineyard, and in the hands of a good producer, is capable of making extraordinary wine.
The 2011 Fess Parker Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir is deep garnet in color, with ruby at the core. The nose shows typical Pinot aromas of dark berry, raspberry, and cherry, along with more exotic notes of espresso, vanilla, and dried herb. The palate pairs juice black cherry flavors with blackberry, spice, and a hint of tobacco. Fairly lush on the palate yet with bright fruit, this is a beautifully balanced pinot, with an interesting spice note that lingers on the palate. This wine is drinking beautifully today, and should continue to improve over the next 3-5 years.
Vineyard Source: Bien Nacido
Appellation: Santa Maria Valley, Santa Barbara County
Composition: 100% Pinot Noir
Barrel Aging: 100% Barrel fermented & aged 16 months in 80% new French oak
Harvest Date: October 4th-12th
Clone Selection: Pomard & 2A
T.A.: 0.591 g/100ml
Production: 807 cases
When Fess Parker was cast in the roll of Davy Crockett in the mid-1950’s, it caused an international sensation and changed his life forever. So too did the purchase of 714 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley change the course of the Parker family’s history.
Realizing the potential of Santa Barbara County as a premium grape-growing region, Fess and his son, Eli, originally set out in 1989 to plant a small vineyard and sell fruit to local producers. But, as Fess’ daughter, Ashley explains, “ Fess is from Texas, so he can’t do anything small. “The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now farms almost 700 acres on four vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.
The characters Fess portrayed, Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, inspired generations of Americans. Throughout the late 1950’s and 1960’s Fess was at the pinnacle of a television career that has an unprecedented impact upon American popular culture. But is was Fess’ entrepreneurial spirit that prompted his leaving Hollywood to go into business for himself. The traits that Crockett and Boone embodied - integrity, resourcefulness and good humor -- L-R Tim Snider, Fess Parker, Ashley Parker Snider, Eli Parker carried over to Fess’ personal life and formed the foundation upon which the family business was built. First-class hospitality has always been at the core of their ventures, first as hoteliers and eventually with the opening of the winery.
Working as a family has always been a great source of pride and pleasure for the Parker family. Eli Parker began in the family business as assistant winemaker in 1989. After several years of learning the craft at the side of renowned and accomplished winemakers, Eli took the reins as winemaker himself with the 1995 vintage. A leader of the winery since it’s inception, it was in 1996 that Eli formally assumed the title and responsibilities of President. In the early 1990’s, Ashley ran the first tastings out of the barrel room and represented the winery at trade shows. In 1998, Ashley became Eli’s partner, working on the public relations and sales and marketing teams. The presence of Fess and his wife Marcy as the founding visionaries of the winery is a vital and enduring one.
More at www.fessparker.com.