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Fess Parker Bien Nacido Pinot Noir 2012

Pinot Noir from Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
  • RP93
  • WE93
14.2% ABV
  • RP93
  • WE92
  • WS90
  • WE92
  • RP91
  • RP90
  • WE90
  • RP93
  • WE92
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14.2% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This wine is quintessential Bien Nacido, big, rich and velvety on the palate with loads of forward cherry and strawberry fruit framed in with attractive spice, cola and toasty characteristics adding complexity. This wine is eminently drinkable today but also has a great track record of aging for 6-8 years. Enjoy!

Critical Acclaim

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RP 93
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
In the same ball park quality-wise, the 2012 Pinot Noir Bien Nacido is a medium-bodied, rich, textured, yet elegant red that has plenty of ripe black cherries, underbrush, salt block and wild herb aromas and flavors. Seeing 15% whole cluster inclusion and 17 months in 46% new French oak, it excels for it purity, as well as for its seamless, silky texture. I'd drink it over the coming 4-6 years, but suspect it will evolve for longer.
WE 93
Wine Enthusiast
The late actor-turned-vintner's family keeps producing solid wines, including this bottling that offers earthy scents of beet juice and clove. The flavors are pomegranate-driven, with cardamom and allspice making the wine memorable and lasting on the finish.
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Fess Parker

Fess Parker

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Fess Parker, Santa Maria Valley, Central Coast, California
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The Fess Parker Winery & Vineyard grew out of Fess' vision for the promise of Santa Barbara County as a premier viticultural region. Established in 1989, the family immediately began planting some of the county's most renowned vineyards. Outstanding fruit sources coupled with skilled winemaking are at the core of delivering wines of the highest quality to our consumer. We are proud to boast two Winemaker of the Year recipients – Eli Parker and Blair Fox – focusing on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, primarily from the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, and estate grown Syrah and Viognier. 

Santa Maria Valley

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A lesser-known but elite AVA within the larger Santa Barbara district, the Santa Maria Valley AVA runs precisely west to east starting near the coast. The valley funnels cool, Pacific Ocean air to the vineyards more inland, allowing grapes a longer hang time to ripen evenly and achieve their full potential by harvest time. Combined with minimal rainfall, consistent warm sunshine, and well-drained soils, it is an ideal environment for grape growing.

Many of the wineries here are small and highly respected, having established a reputation in the 1970s and 80s for producing excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. More recently, Syrah has also proven quite successful in the region. Many vineyards are owned by growers who sell their grapes to other wineries, so it is common to see the same vineyard name on bottlings from different wineries. Bien Nacido Vineyard is perhaps the best-known and most prestigious.

Pinot Noir

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One of the most finicky yet rewarding grapes to grow, Pinot Noir is a labor of love for many. However, the greatest red wines of Burgundy prove that it is unquestionably worth the effort. In fact, it is the only red variety permitted in Burgundy. Highly reflective of its terroir, Pinot Noir prefers calcareous soils and a cool climate, requires low yields to achieve high quality and demands a lot of attention in the vineyard and winery. It retains even more glory as an important component of Champagne as well as on its own in France’s Loire Valley and Alsace regions. This sensational grape enjoys immense international success, most notably growing in Oregon, California and New Zealand with smaller amounts in Chile, Germany (as Spätburgunder) and Italy (as Pinot Nero).

In the Glass

Pinot Noir is all about red fruit—strawberry, raspberry and cherry with some heftier styles delving into the red or purple plum and in the other direction, red or orange citrus. It is relatively pale in color with soft tannins and a lively acidity. With age (of which the best examples can handle an astounding amount) it can develop hauntingly alluring characteristics of fresh earth, savory spice, dried fruit and truffles.

Perfect Pairings

Pinot’s healthy acidity cuts through the oiliness of pink-fleshed fish like salmon and tuna but its mild mannered tannins give it enough structure to pair with all sorts of poultry: chicken, quail and especially duck. As the namesake wine of Boeuf Bourguignon, Pinot noir has proven it isn’t afraid of beef. California examples work splendidly well with barbecue and Pinot Noir is also vegetarian-friendly—most notably with any dish that features mushrooms.

Sommelier Secret

For administrative purposes, the region of Beaujolais is often included in Burgundy. But it is extremely different in terms of topography, soil and climate, and the important red grape here is ultimately Gamay, not Pinot noir. Truth be told, there is a tiny amount of Gamay sprinkled around the outlying parts of Burgundy (mainly in Maconnais) but it isn’t allowed with any great significance and certainly not in any Village or Cru level wines. So "red Burgundy" still necessarily refers to Pinot noir.

RPT93690401_2012 Item# 145208