2019 Parsonage Village Vineyard, Estate Syrah, Carmel Valley AVA, Monterey County.
Coming from tiny yielding rocky hillside vines the Estate Syrah by Parsonage is an intense full bodied effort, as I’ve said before, these Parsonage wines show gorgeous fruit density, opulence and length, with this one following Guigal’s famous Cote Rotie in style and palate impact, dark berry depth and its luxurious mouth feel. The Parsonage wines are crafted by Frank Melicia, owner and founder Bill Parsons’ winemaker and son in law, who also makes the Silvestri wines, and that goes after richly flavored, ripe and textural wines that stand out, which has been a winning formula for this small label in Carmel Valley. This deep inky purple 2019 Estate Syrah is loaded with back fruits, leaning on olallieberry, boysenberry, black currant and sweet plum fruits along with hints of cigar box, peony florals, cinnamon, vanilla, coffee grounds, creme de cassis and licorice. The grapes are late picked and have high brix, but there’s still acidity from the cool nights and Ocean influence, and while hedonistic and supple in tannins, there is a remarkable balance, especially in this vintage, that looks to be one of the best yet for Parsonage, from what I’ve tried so far and it should age fantastically well. Syrah still remains a small if not micro planted varietal in the region, which now has seen a huge increase in Pinot Noir plantings in Carmel Valley, especially the western edges that see a cool windy climate. Parsonage has a warmer and drier exposure, catching lots more intense sunlight, that allows the concentration found here, making for wines that go great with a steak, lamb and or meaty winter dishes.

The Estate Syrah, not to be confused with the single parcel Reserve 100% Syrah “Rocco” bottling, is made with hand picked 100% de-stemmed and vigorously sorted grapes that see a lengthy maceration and daily punch-downs for full extraction and they basket pressed to French oak barriques, which usually is a good percentage of toasty new wood, but not in this vintage, it got just 1 and 2 times filled used oak. For California Syrah fans, this wine is more like Shafer’s Relentless and or Herman Story in feel, gaining complexity and a spiciness with air, adding blueberry compote, kirsch and mocha notes and it really should be decanted and had with hearty cuisine. The aging time in barrel differs slightly on the Estate Syrah, with this vintage spending close to two years in wood before bottling. Bill Parsons planted his estate with Syrah and Bordeaux varietals, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and the rare Petit Verdot blocks back in 1998 and hit the ground running with his 2000 debut bottlings that garnered eye brow raising critical acclaim. The wines have impressed for their lush fruit driven quality, something that not many people thought possible here until Parsons brought these wines out, up until then most of the Carmel Valley reds were austere and needed tons of bottle age to be their best, like the wines that came from the historic Durney label, now known as the Massa Estate. If you’ve not had the Parsonage wines, now is a good time to start, in particular the estate grown bottlings of Syrah, like this Estate, the Cabernet Sauvignon and especially the single varietal Dario Reserve Merlot, which is also absolutely stunning in this stellar 2019, and the delicious 2018, vintages.
($48 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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