Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fess Parker Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir 2008

There's nothing lamer than being in Rome for almost three weeks, having a great time, and then coming back and having to go back to work. Work is a necessary evil, and I don't dislike it entirely, but I am much more in the "work to live," as opposed to the "live to work" camp. Given all the lameness that was about to ensure on Monday morning, I was pleasantly surprised to find four bottles of wine from Fess Parker waiting for me. In truth, it made my day, if for no other reason than all the bottles are adorned with a coonskin cap (because Fess Parker played Davey Crockett on TV back in the day), and I was obsessed with Davey Crockett when I was a kid. Not really sure why they sent me free wine, as I certainly have what I would describe as an anti-California bent where wine is related. I'm also going to let you in on a secret: (well, not really, I think it's probably fairly obvious) most of the people stumble upon this site because of something I wrote about some random Trader Joe's offering. (Seriously, that's 70% of the traffic of this site). But, let's put that aside--you really shouldn't complain about getting free wine, especially when it's from a "legit" winery (as opposed to free samples from say, Bronco). 

With all that in mind, I popped the cork on the 2008 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. Synthetic cork. Supposedly, this wine should retail for 27$, although I can't find any reference to this wine online. I would assume that it hasn't been released yet. Restrained use of new oak on this one (perhaps because it's a blend of about 7 different vineyards)--the technical sheet says 40%. One dimensional and a little closed at first. First thing that I noticed was a a little bit of blueberry/currant, followed by some strawberry and some spice. After some aeration, the wine opens up to reveal lots of cranberry, orange, and spice elements on the nose, with tart red fruits, a hint of vanilla, a fairly silky-plush texture, and a spicy finish. The wine reminds me of Christmas or Thanksgiving. It's a relatively ripe and fruity Pinot with a little bit of creaminess in the mid-palate and a touch of alcohol heat--about what I expect from California Pinot. I'm glad this Pinot doesn't "go to 11," as some of the more full throttle ones from warmer climes do. I think that the price may be a bit steep on this one for me, although I do think it's good wine. It's just somewhat pricey at 27$. If it was more like 15-20$, I might be more inclined to be into it. I wasn't blown away--and I dare say that there are some similarly priced Burgundy's that I might better suit my palate--but there's nothing wrong with this wine either. C+ (Mainly because I think the price is pretty steep.)

8 comments:

Tricerapops said...

didn't know he had a winery. RIP Fess.

sam klingberg said...

Retails in the low 20's here in Chicago. There are, unfortunately, a lot of Cali Pinots that are pretty boring in that low $20 range, that also happen to be insanely popular. Though, I rather liked the '07 vintage of this wine...

CabFrancoPhile said...

This one seems 'par for the course.' It's sad to say, but the $20 to $30 range usual delivers a varietally and regionally correct Pinot, but it's usually missing something. Usually that something is structure or a finish.

On the flip side, I've yet to taste a Burgundy that excites me in this price range either. At a recent blind tasting I was only really pumped about a Rusack '07 SBC Pinot that I thought might be a modern styled Burgundy based on its freshness and floral/metallic aromas. '07 vintage was a good one, usually very fresh and not extremely high ABV.

Jeff said...

My neighbor has poured me a couple of Burgundies recently that are right around 20$ that I thought were pretty tasty. Of course, I could be responding to the fact that they're Pinots with poise and umami instead of really bright fruit, and I was thinking about eating stuff with them...

Just for what it's worth, I think the best Pinot-based wine that I've ever had was a 99 Dehlinger (can't remember the vineyard, unfortunately), and that's from Sonoma. Of course, I've never gotten the chance to play in the upper echelons of Burgundy (I can count the number of wines other than villages or simple Bourgogne Rouge on one hand), so maybe I don't know what I'm talking about?

Pinot ends up confounding me, because I like it a lot, but almost never drink it because of the price.

CabFrancoPhile said...

Oh, I'm sure the good $20 Burgs are out there. Having a Burgophile neighbor would definitely help. I've only come across them at a local wine shop, though. Some have been better than others, for sure. Usually they have some weird funk that I suspect come from moldy grapes (geosmin?), off flavors or a simple/fruity wines.

Jeff said...

Yeah, he hunts around for them...you definitely can't get them at the grocery store or whatever. Definitely have to go somewhere where there is a person that is really into it, and knows more than you. I guess that's just the way Burgundy is--too much terroir, not a lot of wine, and a lot of variability.

As an aside, I think the worst wine I've ever had was a Bourgogne Rouge that was $2.99 at Trader Joes...I knew it would be awful, but I wasn't prepared for how bad it was.

CabFrancoPhile said...

A $3 TJ's Burgundy . . . . that's bravery!

Jeff said...

I'll try anything once...it's sort of the same reason people gawk at traffic accidents. I wanted to see how bad it was.