2018 Parsonage Village Vineyard, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tanner Reserve, Estate Grown, Carmel Valley AVA, Monterey County.
The incredibly dark and concentrated Tanner Reserve highlights the quality of the vintage with deep purity of flavors, firm structures and an added bright inner energy that lifts this full bodied and impressive Cabernet from Parsonage’s steep low yielding vines. It had been a few vintages since digging into the Tanner Cabernet, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and it is even better than I had remembered with loads of blackberry, currant, black cherry and plum fruits that fill out in the mouth not all that different from some $300 plus Cabs from Napa, as well as having a powerful tannic grip and is accented by smoky oak, incense, creme de cassis, anise, sandalwood and vanilla. This is a big and opulent Cabernet Sauvignon that benefits from robust protein rich cuisine, especially medium rare beef dishes and or hard cheeses, that will serve to allow a more luxurious side to shine in this wine. This 2018 has a little more natural acidity and taut detailing, with a touch of bramble and spice, than the more hedonistic and chocolatey 2019s, but I think that will provide it with a longer life and I like that bite as it makes everything more exciting in the glass. The Reserve wines are the best of the best of the estate grapes and see an extended aging period in barriques with a good percentage of toasty new oak that tame the tannins in these lush wines, with the Cabernet seeing a minimum of 18 months and sometimes 24 before bottling.
The Parsonage winery, which was founded by Bill Parsons in 1998, when he planted his vines in a warm hillside about a mile east of the Carmel Valley Village, and now with Frank Melicia, who has been the winemaker and vineyard manager here for many years, is one of the best local wineries in this region that is finally getting the attention it deserves. The Parsons Family, Bill and Mary, along with their daughters Rachael, Ali and Brooke, planted the seven-acre Parsonage Village Vineyard 14 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean on what is a natural amphitheater, with stony and meager soils, it includes 3.5 acres of Syrah, 2.0 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.0 acre of Merlot and just 0.5 acre of Petit Verdot, which is exceptional here. Parsons was the first to grow Syrah in Carmel Valley, and it remains his signature wine, in particular the Rocco Reserve, but the Cabernet Sauvignon, as in this fabulous Tanner Reserve, and the estate Merlot, as in the Dario’s Reserve is also incredible stuff and a sleeper in the lineup. While the deeper part of the Valley, as in the wines from Bernadus, Galante and the famous old Durney property, known as Massa Estate make for more rustic and Bordeaux like wines, Parsonage takes aim at Napa and Paso Robles in style with opaque inky hues and sexy new oak use, they unapologetic ripe and expansive wines that are absolutely guilty pleasures! The Parsonage Reserves are extremely limited bottlings and mainly sold through their mailing list, but are worth searching out with some always available at their tasting room in the Village.
($90 Est.) 94 points, grapelive