Review: Two Fess Parker Wines – Courtesy of California Wine Club

Expanding my palate to California.

“You ought to never consider retiring from work, because remaining engaged in some creative occupation makes life so much more full” - Fess Parker

California Wine Club Shipment
Premier Club Gift.
As a life-long Washington resident, I drink Washington wine. This blog is “Wild 4 Washington Wine” after all, so drinking local comes easy. Yes, the occasional bottle from Australia and Spain grace my table, but not often. That began to change in 2010 when I started attending the Wine Bloggers Conferences. I was exposed to many new wines from across the United States and the world. There is a huge world of wine out there. Since 2010, especially since last year, I've sampled wines from California, Texas, Missouri, Virginia, New York, Spain, France, Italy, Chile and Argentina. Tasting all of these wines has pushed me off my comfortable bench, where I was drinking exclusively Washington wines.

The wine critic and author Paul Gregutt recently wrote “is there a cure for tunnel palate?” He describes how one develops a blind spot regarding wine preference. The cure? Drink a greater variety of wines.

Last year, I embraced the cure, I am now drinking a greater variety of wines and I'm eager to taste and share more. Continuing in the process of expanding my palate beyond Washington wine, I have accepted an offer from The California Wine Club, to evaluate a 3-month Premier Club gift membership. I will receive two bottles of California wine each month, made by “mom and pop” wineries for the next three months.

This month's shipment included two bottles of wine from Fess Parker Wines. Anyone my age will know that Fess Parker played the iconic roles of Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone on TV. As a kid I loved watching those shows. As an adult, I enjoyed drinking his namesake wines. This month I received a bottle of Fess Parker 2010 Riesling Santa Barbara County and a bottle of 2010 Parker Station California Pinot Noir.

2010 Riesling Santa Barbara County.
Fess Parker 2010 Riesling Santa Barbara County

I try not to be a Washington Riesling wine snob. So my first impression of this off-dry California Riesling was positive. It had a light yellow color, with pear and petrol on the nose, fresh and interesting. This wine was a great match to the afternoon snack I made of sliced pear, white cheddar cheese and mixed nuts. With the pear, the acidity in the wine was bright, obvious and complimentary. The acidity of the wine was muted by the cheese and nuts, but with the cheese I noticed that the wine had a distinct apricot flavor, very pleasant. Well done. A balanced, delicious and easy to drink Riesling. I liked it. But the true test, would my wife like it too?

For dinner we picked up Chinese food; shrimp fried rice, sweet and sour chicken and those fried wontons filled with cream cheese and crab. By the time we sat down for dinner, the wine still had petrol and spice on the nose, but now vanilla cream joined the party and the finish had lengthened. But what did my wife think? She loved it and asked for more. This wine was absolutely delightful with the cream cheese and crab stuffed wontons – it was a perfect pairing. We were both impressed by the Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Riesling. Next month is Mothers Day – I suggest we get some bottles for mom. That's some great juice from Santa Barbara County fruit. Recommended.

ABV: 12%
Blend: 100% Riesling, 83% Camp Four Vineyard, 17% Rodney's Vineyard, both Santa Ynez Valley.
Aging: 100% stainless steel tank fermented & aged.
Residual Sugar: 2.7%
Production: 12,752 cases
Closure: Screw Cap

2010 California Pinot Noir.
Parker Station California Pinot Noir 2010

The second bottle of wine I received was a Parker Station Pinot Noir. If you know me, then you know that I'm not a Pinot Noir drinker. Not because I don't like Pinot Noir, I just don't have many opportunities to drink Pinot Noir and therefore no strong opinion of Pinot Noir – no offense intended. Which means I was happy to have the opportunity to taste this wine at home.

Also closed with a screw cap, it was easy to open this bottle of wine. Nose in glass, inhale, I was greeted by earthy and spicy aromas, followed by raspberry on the nose which continued through the finish. It had a juicy, jammy core. This was a lighter bodied red than I usually drink, so I paired it with broiled salmon and rice. It was a good pairing, the wine complimented the salmon and neither the wine or salmon dominated. This would be a good brunch wine if paired with smoked salmon, bagels, cream cheese, strawberries, poached eggs and bacon. Hmm, consider it another wine suggestion for this Mothers Day. I saved half the bottle to evaluate the next day. On day two the Parker Station had a soft nose of pepper and raspberry, light body, pepper on finish, with light fruit, it was bright and fresh. The finish was good. I liked this wine more on day two because it seemed more integrated, a good casual sipper, perfect for a greater variety of foods with friends. Where the Riesling is ready to drink now, the Pinot Noir is drinkable, but has several more years of life left in it – you could drink the Pinot Noir today or hold for another year or two. Recommended.

ABV: 13.8%
Closure: Screw cap.

Fess Parker Winery
6200 Foxen Canyon Road
Solvang, CA 93441

Last year, I embraced opening myself to explore more wines from more places, besides Washington. I believe that I must expand my palate. Not only to appreciate wines of various styles from across the globe, but also to appreciate Washington wines as they reside in a global context of wine. I'd like to thank the California Wine Club for selecting such delicious wines, and for helping with my continued exploration of wine and the wines of California. I wonder what lovelies I'll receive next month?

The California Wine Club

* For my readers, new California Wine Club members or gift givers, can receive 4 bottles of wine for the price of 2 bottles when they sign up. There is no obligation to continue after the first month. At checkout you must use the code: wild12 for this offer.

You can learn more about the California Wine Club by following @cawineclub and @boringwineguy on twitter. If you are not on twitter,  you can “like” them on Facebook, The California Wine Club and The Boring Wine Guy.


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