90 points – Antonio Galloni's Vinous
As California's Central Coast region gains recognition, a lot has been made about the cooler Sta. Rita Hills AVA being perfect for Pinot. However, a few insightful critics, and several savvy winemakers, have realized that this area has great potential for Chardonnay as well, which in recent vintages has been realized with critically acclaimed Chardonnays. One such Chardonnay comes from one of our favorite producers, Fess Parker.
The 2013 Fess Parker Ashley's Chardonnay is bright yellow-gold. Ripe citrus fruits and melon on the perfumed nose. Fleshy and smooth in texture but lively as well, offering energetic orange, pear and honeydew flavors accented by hints of ginger and mace. Packs a punch but remains bright and lithe, with no excess fat. Finishes with very good focus and spicy persistence, the melon note repeating.
Vineyard Source: Ashley's Vineyard
Appellation: Sta. Rita Hills
Composition: 100% Chardonnay
Barrel Aging: 8 months in 51% New French oak, 12% in 1-year old & 37% in 2-year or older French oak barrels
Harvest Date: October 3 - October 18
T.A.: 0.715 g/100ml
Production: 2062 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.