Fess Parker Winery
2008 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Bien Nacido Vineyard
Santa Barbara County
What We Say
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: The Deep Thinker
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to our dear friends at Fess Parker Winery, in Santa Barbara County, procure the newest vintage of their award-winning Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Fess Parker Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 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 the return of Fess Parker, whose Bien Nacido (Santa Barbara County) Pinot Noir has been breaking records and winning awards.
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 – Darkest burgundy with a slightly brickish hue at the core. At the edge of the wine, a fine band of lightest pink encircles the wine. After a good swirl, fat tears meander slowly down the glass.
Smell – Bold, rich dark cherry and soft brown spice are the predominant notes and as the wine opens up, it reveals stewed plum, cola, toasted spiced oak, espresso bean and subtle fresh herbs.
Feel – Soft and very smooth on entry, the wine gradually reveals a medium to full body as plush tannins gently encroach on the corners of the mouth. Balanced acids and soft white minerals give the wine additional backbone.
Taste – Bold and dark with spiced cherry candy, cola and dried cranberry. These intermingle with exotic brown spice, black pepper, espresso, bramble, subtle tomato vine and a hint of dried mission fig.
Finish – Long and very flavorful, with dark spiced cherry and cola giving way to more earthen flavors of spice, pepper and bramble.
Conclusion – Score another success with today’s brilliant, bold and very tasty 2008 Fess Parker Winery Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir! Each year, this wine earns 90+ point scores, and each year seems better than the last. Today’s wine is among the very darkest Pinots we have enjoyed. Dark aromas, dark flavors and a plush, bold feel all contribute to the complexity of this delicious wine. 2008 must have been a very ripe year, in Santa Barbara, for this wine shows off a darkly extracted and fruit-forward quality that we have not seen from this vineyard – or this region. Enjoy this wine now, and be sure to cellar a few bottles of this age-worthy Pinot Noir for the next few 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
Awards & Accolades:
Best of Show – Quarterly Review of Wines
Double Gold – SF Chronicle Wine Comp
90 Points – Stephen Tanzer
89+ Points – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
88 Points – Wine Enthusiast
About This Wine:
This legendary, cool-climate vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley demonstrates the provocative nuances of high quality pinot noir. Aromas of bright red fruit, bing cherry and holiday fruit cake mingle with vanilla and cigar box scents. Fruit flavors of black cherry and black currant cascade on the palate, while hints of vanilla, dark chocolate, sweet spice and well integrated subtle oak 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 80% New French Oak
COOPERAGE: Ermitage, Seguin Moreau & Franois Frerer
HARVEST DATE: September 25th
CLONE: Pommard & 2A
TONS PER ACRE: 1.8-2.7