Santa Barbara County
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
The Wine Spies scour the wine world to bring you great wines, but when we find a really great wine, we issue a special alert like this one.
Today’s wine is 20% off from its normal retail price. To sweeten the deal, we’ll include Free Ground Shipping if you purchase 6 bottles or more. Enter coupon code SPYNOW during checkout.
Mission Codename: Move over, Chateauneuf du Pape!
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Investigate reports that Epiphany Cellars has a red blend that drinks way above its price class – while giving Chateauneuf du Pape wines a run for their money. If the wine is as good a reports claim, secure an ample cache for our demanding Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Epiphany Cellars
Wine Subject: 2005 Gypsy – Red Wine
Winemaker: Eli Parker
Backgrounder: Intel reports have been pouring in from our Operatives around the country, about Epiphany Cellars’ Gypsy, and its phenominal QPR (quality to Price Ratio). This red blend has the building blocks of Chateauneuf du Pape, a highly prized French red blend – but with a more irreverant and fun side that makes today’s wine a fabulous and exciting wine. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful and shiny, ruby red with perfect clarity through its dark ruby heart. The wine has a tight and springy surface that settles ultra-fast after swirling, leaving behind huge legs that move slowly down the glass
Smell – Full intensity of deep aromatic dark fruits, dark berry, cherry, raspberry, chocolate, sage, pepper, cigar box, mild pipe tobacco and cassis
Feel – Full-bodied, round and initially wet at the front of the palate – then mouth-coating and almost chewy and slightly dry with beautiful medium tannins that fade – revealing more great flavors
Taste – Juicy, ripe and delicious, with lush smoky blackberries and cherries balanced against soft earthen flavors, with dusky sandalwood, cocoa, raspberry, sage and mild spice
Finish – A long, rich and dusky finish that ramps down smoothly and continues to reveal new flavors as it tapers off
Conclusion – This is an amazing wine! I always hesitate to include the words, for the price, but this wine is a steal – especially at our special price today. When it comes to red blends, I am pretty darned picky; most that we have tasted here can be somewhat discombobulated. When we show a red blend here, you can rest assured that its great. This beautiful wine is perfectly integrated, with perfumy aromatics, delicious fruit, dusky flavors and a lush feel. If you are looking for a great holiday party wine if you need to have several bottles on hand, this is a perfect selection as it is certain to impress, but won’t break the bank. Drink now or cellar.
We Wine Spies are big fans of French Chateauneuf du Pape (is there any other kind?). BIG fans. So are our Operatives, as evidenced by the sheer volume of CNDs purchased here recently.
We are also big fans of great California Red Blends.
AND, we are HUGE fans of high QPR wines. Wines with a great QPR (Quality Price Ratio) make our spy hearts go all aflutter.
Were am I going with all of this? Well, to today’s brilliant wine, of course!
We recently sat down with the good folks at Epiphany and we tasted through their line-up. All of their wines were impressive and we made arrangements to secure of few of them to feature over the next few months. One of the wines, however, stood out as the wine that we should show here, first; The 2005 Gypsy – a blend of Mourvedre (29%), Syrah (29%), Grenache (21%), Carignane (11%) and Petite Sirah (10%). These first three varietals are the base components of many Chateauneuf du Pape wines.
This is a very special wine with deep perfumy aromatics, delicious-bold flavors and a great feel. What really strikes us about this wine is is character, that quality of the wine that you feel when you drink it. One of our agents called Epiphany’s Gypsy a seriously fun wine. This led another to declare that the wine was funnly serious. This, after just a few sips, mind you!
I almost wish that we had blind-tasted this wine at the winery, for I am certain that I would have easily classified the wine as belonging in the $35 range.
This little gem of a wine is robust and flavorful, and its a sheer joy to drink.
With the holidays approaching, you are probably on the lookout for a wine to impress your guests – without bankrupting you. Well, good news, you’ve found it!
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Gold Medal – 2008 San Francisco International Wine Competition
About This Wine:
One of the long time favorites in our red wine line-up has been Revelation – a rhone style blend conceived during a visit and tasting of the many fantastic wines in Australia. Several years later Gypsy was created as a counterpoint to Revelation; a true rhone-styled blend inspired by the great wines of the Southern Rhone valley in France.
We believe the 2005 vintage of Gypsy delivers on this vision. Lighter, elegant and imminently approachable, half of this wine is made from Mourvedre and Grenache – two of Chateauneuf du Pape’s star grape varieties – with the other half made up of Syrah, Carignane and Petite Sirah. We have also incorporated fruit from our favorite vineyard sites in Santa Barbara County – Camp Four, Hampton, Paradise and Rodney’s Vineyards.
The result is packed with black cherry, raspberry, cocoa, sandalwood, dried sage and incense aromas. Not to be outdone, the palate delivers robust flavors of dark chocolate, blackberry, black cherry, black pepper and vanilla. We’re sure you’ll enjoy this versatile wine this summer as much as we do!
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).