What We Say 2007 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
Top Pinot Noir
Welcome to our 3rd Annual Wine Intrigue Awards! Each year, our Operatives vote for their top wine selections – and today we proudly present the Top Pinot Noir of 2010, from our fabulous friends at Fess Parker Winery. If you missed this perfect Pinot, earlier this year, this is your final chance to see why this particular Pinot was selected as the best of 2010.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT
Today’s Santa Barbara Pinot, from one of the best vintages in a decade is a wine of exceptional character. If you love great Pinot Noir, this one belongs in your collections.
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Mission Codename: Exceptional Breeding
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Locate and procure a stunning Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Fess Parker Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
Winemaker: Blair Fox
Backgrounder: The Wine Spies have been featuring some really incredible Pinot Noir of late, but requests have been pouring in for a Bien Nacido (Santa Barbara County) Pinot Noir – so we sent Agent White southward to discover the best example he could find. Read his tasting notes and his mission report below to find out how he located today’s incredible Fess Parker Pinot Noir.
California’s Central Coast region, and specifically Santa Barbara and San Luis Obisbo County has become one of the state’s premier regions for Pinot Noir. The generally warmer climate, moderated by the coastal fog, its sandy and clay loam soil, and broad exposure results in Pinot of exceptional purity.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep and dark reddish burgundy and ruby red reflections shine through its dark core when held to the light. Along the edges, the color shows subtle violet hints and when swirled, clusters of fast thin legs streak down to the wine below.
Smell – Bold and generous aromas of earthy red fruit and specifically dark cherry with distinct undergrowth notes layered into the fruit. Complex aromas of exotic spice, smokey wood, and herbal notes meld with a subtle hints of mocha coffee and cola.
Feel – Rich and smooth, this dry and full-bodied Pinot’s powder-textured tannins are expansive and hold tight but don’t overpower. Balanced acidity and minerality adds to this wine’s exceptional structure.
Taste – Rich earthy dark cherry and other red fruit flavors are integrated with notes of exotic spices, savory herbal notes and smokey oak. A touch of mocha, vanilla and cola emerge under the woody flavors.
Finish – Long, textured and persistent tannins linger on the palate as the fruit, earth and spice notes gently fade.
Conclusion – The 2007 Fess Parker Winery Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir is well deserving of the awards and accolades its received. Rich and generous earthy fruit with layer upon layer of other complex aromas and flavors. A fantastically structured wine (give it some time to open). Enjoy the progressive evolution in the glass. Enjoy now and for the next 5-7 years.
Below is a recap of Agent Red’s original mission when we first featured Fess Parker.
When I was a little Agent, my father took me on a journey through my family history. It was rife with intrigue, unsavory characters, artists, criminals, tales of fortunes won and lost – and even actual spies, and even an honest-to-god (only) horse thief.
My fathers father, a gentleman professor of romance languages and a student of history, had traced our roots back many generations. The generations which fascinated me the most were those that occupied early American history. The distant relative that held the most fascination was Daniel Boone.
American Folk Hero, explorer, businessman, military man and woodsman, it was Boones role in extending American civilization and his moniker, “the Columbus of the woods”, that interested me most about the man. Or at least the popularized versions of the man. I became an avid student of the Disney series, Daniel Boone, and even took to wearing a coonskin cap. Granted, I was 6 years old.
Many years hence I became a Wine Spy, blazing trails of my own with Wine Spies co-founder, Agent Red. Red suggested that we were pioneers and that comment triggered memories of long-ago relative, Daniel Boone. A few days later, I rented the Disney series and, as I was watching the credits, spotted a name familiar to me from the wine industry, Fess Parker! Fess played played Daniel Boone in the Disney series of the same name.
This revelation led me to call on the winery immediately, declaring to them excitedly that I was ‘related’ to them. When I explained myself, I was met with a somewhat quizzical chuckle. Apparently, they felt that my claim was a bit of a stretch. Imagine that!
Long story short, I made an appointment with the winery, to taste their wines – and I fell in love. Their 2006 Ashley’s Vineyard Chardonnay was particularly wonderful and, right then and there, I secured a cache for our Operatives. With fruit from the Sta. Rita Hills appellation, this wine strikes a great balance of serious, fun and sincere – just like Fess Parker himself.
As for Daniel Boone, while he was not perfect by any means, he did blaze trails and he did make important discoveries – just as I try to do with the wines that I spy for you every day, dear Operative…
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara’s famous Foxen Canyon can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Fess Parker Winery
Awards & Accolades:
93 Points & Cellar Selection – Wine Enthusiast There’s a fine Pinot in here, but it’s like buried treasure. Currently locked down with tannins, the wine shows extravagant flavors of dusty Asian spices, rhubarb, pomegranate, cola, cherryskin and sandalwood. Desperately needs time, but should be very fine. Drink 2011 through 2015. – S.H. (8/1/2009)
91 Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
90 Points – Steven Tanzer – Medium red. Pungent scents of dried cherry and redcurrant, with notes of herbs and rose adding complexity. Reasonably concentrated but slightly dry, with dusty tannins adding grip to the solid red fruit flavors. The finish is focused, chewy and just a bit rough-edged. This needs a fatty piece of red meat." (Nov/Dec ’09)
90 Points – Burghound.com
About This Wine:
This legendary, cool-climate vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley demonstrates the provocative nuances of high quality pinot noir. Enticing dark fruit aromas of black cherry and red plum are supported by subtle vanilla, allspice and sandalwood with a hint of rose petal. Fruit flavors of black cherry and black currant cascade on the palate, while hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, and rosemary add to the complexity.
About The Winery:
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 — 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 reigns 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.
About The Winemaker:
BLAIR FOX – Head Winemaker – Graduating from UC Davis in 1999 with a combined degree in Viticulture and Enology, Blair Fox gained winemaking experience at Sunstone Winery in the Santa Ynez Valley (1999-2001), and at Haselgrove Winery – a custom-crush winery in McLaren Vale, Australia (2003).
He also traveled through France’s Rhône Valley before returning to his hometown of Santa Barbara. He then joined Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard as Associate Winemaker, overseeing the Rhône varietal wines. Fox had previously consulted in the vineyard for the winery’s 2002 harvest.
“Having focused on the winery’s estate Syrah and Rhône varietal vineyards, I’m excited to add on the responsibility for Ashley’s and Bien Nacido vineyards and control the Burgundian part of our portfolio (Pinot Noir and Chardonnay),” said Fox. “The vineyards and clonal selection here are of such high quality, and the Parkers are a great family to work for.”
Fox continues the stylistic direction set by Eli Parker when capturing the terroir of the vineyards. He aims to continue raising the bar for the award-winning Fess Parker wines, such as the 2001 Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah (91pts, Wine Advocate), 2002 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (93pts, Wine Spectator), and 2001 American Tradition Reserve Syrah, (92pts, Wine Advocate).
VINEYARD SOURCE: 100% Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
COMPOSITION: 100% Pinot Noir
BARREL AGING: 16 Months in 60% New French Oak
COOPERAGE: Ermitage, Seguin Moreau & Franois Frerer
HARVEST DATE: October 5TH
CLONE: Pommard & 2A
TONS PER ACRE: 2.6