2015 Parsonage Village Vineyard, Dario & Bixby Reserve, Carmel Valley Estate, Monterey County.
The inky dark, purple/black and garnet edged Dario & Bixby Reserve is all estate blend of Merlot and Petit Verdot that is full of tannic power and opulently textured black fruits along with a heady perfume of violets and spice, making for an amazing and concentrated red wine. This tiny production reserve wine was a special barrel cuvee with a new Taransaud 225L barrel, one of the most prized French oak coopers noted for their quality product, especially in Bordeaux and with top estates in the Ribera del Deuro, plus a used Seguin Moreau French barrique which give this wine an seductive Saint-Emilion like appeal on the rich and full bodied palate that features crushed blackberries, sweet plum, black currant and blueberry compote along with racy spices and briar notes with lingering cinnamon, smoky vanilla, creme de cassis and a hint of incense, lavender, bitter coco and licorice. This rare bottling, which is normally done in two separate wines, is a hard get, but well worth asking (beg) the winery to dig into the library for, and or look for the individual versions, especially the 2013 and 2014 vintages.
The 2015 vintage gave a minuscule amount of fruit per vine with ultra small clusters and berries, this was especially so at Bill Parsons small vineyard, a south facing hillside only a mile east of the Carmel Valley Village which is set on chalky and rocky soils. The Merlot grown here is on a steep south facing slope that catches all the sun and produces tiny yields and small berries, making it a force to be reckoned with, this is not your grandma’s Merlot, it has the power and tannin to match most Cabs and combined with the inky/spicy Petit Verdot just makes for an incredible wine, almost totally unique and un-to itself. I have been a long time admirer of Parsonage and their commitment to being a winery that makes wine without compromise, achieving richness and depth usually not seen in Carmel Valley, more along the lines of what you’d expect of Napa or Paso, all handcrafted in tiny amounts. The Parsonage Syrah(s) are always a favorite too, be sure to check them out with 2014, 2015 and 2017 looking (drinking) great right now, they taste more like Barossa than Hermitage, but with their own sexy hedonistic twist!
($80 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive