Monday, July 31, 2017

Addendum: New From Fess Parker

Santa Barbara County's Fess Parker winery is branching out. In the spirit of their founder's pioneering ways, the heirs of the barrels are heading north, to the Napa Valley, to create a new label. It's not just a footnote, but an addition to the Parker legacy. Addendum is the company's arm for Bordeaux-style wines.

The Addendum wines will be available in September, but I was able to snag a sample thanks to a Brandlive virtual tasting event put together by Charles Communication. There's history there, as Kimberly Charles worked closely with Fess Parker years ago. She helped the world realize that the man could not only rock a coonskin cap better than anyone, he made a damn great bottle of wine, too.

There's some nepotism there as well. Charles employee Greer Shull says she's a Parker family member, so this job hit pretty close to home for her. Parker's daughter Ashley Parker Snider, her husband and Parker President Tim Snider and winemaker Blair Fox all took part in the online session.
The virtual tasting is hosted here, if you’d like to take a look. 

The Fess Parker winemaking program began 30 years ago in Santa Barbara County, with Rhône and Burgundian styled wines. The second generation of the Parker family is forging the new label for single vineyard Napa Cabernets. They source some grapes from Stagecoach Vineyard, and another noted plot that we cannot mention due to contractual restrictions.

Tim Snider says they felt they had to explore the possibilities presented by their vineyard relationships in Napa. In true pioneer fashion, they are blazing a new trail for themselves. Snider says the family did not make the move to producing Napa Cabs cavalierly. He says the main emotion at this point is enthusiasm. Ashley pointed out that they didn’t start a Cab label just so they could charge more for the bottles. Production on all four of the Addendum wines together is less than 800 cases, she says, so it’s more of a learning experience.

Addendum Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford, Skellenger Lane 2014

Made from grapes grown in a "a prestigious Rutherford vineyard," this wine has what winemaker Fox calls "that Rutherford dust" all over it. It has California brawn, with an alcohol level of 14.9% abv. Aging took place over 28 months in completely new French oak barrels. It carries a price tag of $95.

This wine is very dark in the glass. It gives off an unexpectedly subtle aroma of cassis and smoke. A whiff of graphite and leather come in after it sits a bit. The palate shows its youth, but in an endearing way. Slightly spiky tannins settle down with time, and the dark berry flavors just get more intense. There is some sweet vanilla in play, along with an easy little dash of cinnamon. The finish is incredibly long, and it's a pleasure to behold.

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