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Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard
by
Kathy Sullivan

Fess Parker Winery and VineyardSummary: Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard in Santa Barbara County is a large complex surrounded by flowers and offering numerous wines and views of vineyards. While some may remember Fess Parker as a celebrity for his roles in Hollywood, the Fess Parker family is focused on producing quality wines.

Visitors to the Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard will discover an abundance of colorful rose bushes as they walk to the entrance. A large stone veranda across the front of the facility entices one to want to spend some time relaxing with a glass of wine. An expansive green lawn area with large tree canopies and nearby vineyards adds to the ambiance of this large winery facility.

Fess Parker Winery and VineyardOnce inside the tasting room, a few unique items will remind visitors of the legendary actor Fess Parker; however, the focus is on the wines produced by the Fess Parker Winery. The tasting facility is large with two good-size tasting areas and a smaller area for browsing including olive oil and coonskin caps. One tasting area has a large stone fireplace with seating in front of it.

Fess Parker known to older generations as the actor who portrayed Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, purchased the cattle ranch property in 1988. Fess enjoyed wine and had always been interested in wine. Eli, Fess’s son encouraged Fess to start a winery. The winery opened in 1989. Today Fess Parker Wine & Vineyard, with a production of 65,000 to 70,000 cases, is one of the largest wineries in the area. In addition to using their own grapes for wines they also source grapes from other growers.

Fess Parker Winery and VineyardVineyards

The Fess Parker onsite vineyards consist of 133 acres with 12 grape varieties that includes Rhone varieties. Harvest is at about 2.25 tons per acre.

The first wines planted were Chardonnay and Merlot. The Chardonnay continues to thrive but the Merlot and an experimental block of Cabernet Franc were replaced with Rhone varieties. Today the winery is producing numerous wines but is focused on Pinot Noir and Syrah.

White Wines

We started our tasting with two 2012 Chardonnays from the same appellation but different vineyards. The 2012 Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley AVA Bien Nacido Vineyard made in 25 percent new oak was a yellow color. The aroma and taste offered apple, pear, citrus and buttery notes. The finish was crisp and very fruity. The 2012 Chardonnay Santa Maria Valley AVA Sierra Madre vineyard was produced with 80 percent new oak. This yellow wine offered pear notes. The finish with fruit yielded to butterscotch.  Mélange Blanc 2011 Santa Barbara County AVA was a blend of Roussanne, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, and Viognier. The yellow wine spent 10 months in neutral oak barrel. The wine offered floral notes with some tropical hints. The finish was crisp with floral and fruit notes. Riesling 2012 Santa Barbara County was a dry wine with a light yellow color. The aroma offered minerality and petrol while the taste had minerality with a hint of peaches and a touch of petrol. The finish was crisp with layers of flavors. Riesling 2011 Santa Barbara County had a residual sugar of 3.3 percent. This yellow wine offered an aroma of petrol and mineral with a taste of yellow stone fruit. The wine was sweet and had a fruity finish.

Rosé Wines

Pinot Noir Rosé 2013 Santa Rita Hills AVA was pink with an orange tint. The wine offered raspberry and strawberry notes. The wine was crisp and fruity and would be a wonderful 3P (porch, patio or pool) wine.

Fess Parker Winery and VineyardRed Wines

Pinot Noir 2011 Santa Rita Hills AVA Ashley Vineyard was aged in 50 percent new oak for 15 months. The light ruby translucent wine offered an aroma and taste of raspberries with a hint of licorice. The wine had medium tannins and the finish was crisp and fruity. Pinot Noir 2011 Santa Barbara County Bien Nacido Vineyards was a light ruby color. The aroma and taste were spicy with some raspberry notes. The wine had chewy medium tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity. Syrah 2011 Santa Barbara County was a dark ruby opaque color. The aroma and taste offered fruits and spice with mild tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity. Syrah 2011 Santa Barbara County Rodney’s Vineyard was a dark ruby. The aroma was of spice and dark fruit. The taste was of blackberries, plums, and licorice with medium tannins. The finish was crisp with fruit yielding to spice. Big Easy Santa Barbara County was a blend of Syrah, Petite Sirah and Grenache. The wine was aged for 20 months in a barrel. The aroma was of black fruit. The taste offered black raspberry and plum with bold tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity.

Crockett 2011 25th Anniversary Release Santa Barbara County was a dark ruby, opaque color. The aroma and taste offered dark fruits including black raspberry, plum, blueberry, and cooking spices. The wine had medium to bold chewy tannins. The finish was crisp and fruity yielding to spice.

Fess Parker Winery and VineyardAfter our winetasting we went on a short tour of the winemaking facility. Stainless steel tanks gleamed in the tank room. In the barrel room, barrels were stacked five high. Adjacent to the barrel room is an older wine tasting room. Today this room is used for special wine tastings.

Events

Fess Parker Winery offers a number of events. Some of these special events include The Parker Picnic Series, SummFess, Sunset Cruise Around Santa Barbara Harbor, Movie Night and more. Special events are also available for wine club members.

Whether you enjoy quality wines or remember Fess Parker as Daniel Boone or Davy Crockett, Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard should be on your itinerary.

Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard
6200 Foxen Canyon Road
Los Olivos, California

GPS: N34º 44.561’ W120º 07.162’

 

Article written July 2014


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