Friday, July 3, 2015

SBC Tasting Room: Fess Parker Winery

We made a trip out of Los Angeles to Santa Barbara County wine country recently. My wife and I, along with our good and dear friend Guido love this two-hour trip. The stop in Camarillo to have a bagel and coffee is mandatory and the Trader Joe’s on Milpas provides our picnic lunch. Usually it’s a loaf of bread, some cheese, avocados and olives. This short series will describe some of the wines we sampled in the various tasting rooms we visited.

Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard

Fess Parker was not only an accomplished actor, singer and vintner - he was one of only a few men who could wear a coonskin cap and get away with it. The Fess Parker empire in Santa Barbara County includes a beautiful hotel in the city, a quaint inn and spa in Los Olivos and a showcase of a winery and tasting room along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail. There always seems to be a picnic - or five  - happening on the grounds and there’s always a crowd at the tasting bar.

Ashley's Vineyard Chardonnay 2013  $37 - Most of the grapes for this beautiful wine come from the Sta. Rita Hills vineyard named for Parker’s daughter. The remainder are from  Rancho Esperanza and Hayes Ranch, also in the Sta. Rita Hills appellation. Spice oak stone fruit decorate the nose, with white nectarines and apples on the palate. There is just a little oak spice from the 8 months in French oak, half of it new. A touch of cinnamon rounds things out with a great acidity..

Rodney’s Vineyard Viognier 2012  $36 - This vineyard was named for Parker’s late son-in-law. The nose is floral, with a pungent citrus note. Big-time acidity means food is welcome. The palate shows beautiful peach and pear flavors. Oak notes stick around on the finish, a result of 8 months in neutral French oak barrels.

Marcella’s White Wine 2014  $19 - An SBC Rhône blend, it sports 86% Viognier, 8% Roussanne, 3% Marsanne and 3% Grenache Blanc from Rodney’s Vineyard and Camp Four, another great Santa Ynez Valley site. Pungent minerality provides an awesome nose, while honeyed pears and nice acidity are pleasing on the palate.

SBC Melange Blanc 2012  $25 - Same vineyards as Marcella’s, with a little more accent on the Grenache Blanc and Marsanne in this blend. Big salinity and savory notes mark the nose and palate. The full mouthfeel makes for an easy sip.

Rodney’s Dry Riesling 2013  $24 - 100% Riesling grapes from Rodney’s Vineyard, this wine puts forth a savory nose with notes of green apple. Flavors of apples and pears are studded with minerality. Only 12% alcohol.

SBC Riesling 2014  $15 - Using fruit largely from Camp Four Vineyard, this Riesling gives a nice note of petrol in a very persistent minerality. There is a bit of residual sugar, but it’s still quite dry. Stone fruit and apple flavors leave this wine as a great sipper.

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