2014 Parsonage Village Vineyard, Petit Verdot, Bixby Reserve, Estate, Carmel Valley.
One of the region’s most interesting wines and one of Carmel Valley’s best, the cuvee Bixby Reserve is a unique bold Bordeaux style red made mostly from Petit Vedot from Bill Parsons’ steep hillside estate just past the Carmel Valley Village. Bill along with his winemaker and son in law Frank Melicia, who also makes Alan Silvestri’s wines, have always gone for powerful ripe wines and this wine is oozing with black/purple fruit density and mouth coating tannins, highlighting it’s incredible palate impact, it’s an alien here in the valley where most of the wines are lighter and higher in natural acidity with the exception of Joyce’s estate Merlot and Cabernet bottlings, these are much less lean than Galante, Georis and the historic Durney ranch. Bill Parsons planted the seven-acre Parsonage Village Vineyard back in 1998 on a south-facing hillside, it’s is just about14 miles from the Pacific Ocean and about a mile east of the Village on the Carmel Valley Road. His vineyard is planted to 3.5 acres of Syrah, 2.0 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.0 acre of Merlot and 0.5 acre of Petit Verdot (all of which, goes into this wine!), with estate being the first to plant Syrah in Carmel Valley, and they produce tiny amounts of wine. I’ve been a fan and following Parsonage since their first vintage and have always been impressed and admired the level of quality and richness they possess, and while some of the wines get a bit oaky at times and feel more like modern Paso Robles stuff, the region is hugely grateful to the diversity of styles available and Pasonage is certainly a head turning winery, that all said this 2014 is the most refined and balanced version I can remember, it shows a lovely purity and mineral tones, plus it has absolutely integrated it’s new oak to perfection, it takes Parsonage to the next level. Only two barrels were made in 2014, it was crafted with about 75% Petit Verdot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon using 1 new Taransaud and 1 new Seguin Moreau, (less than 50 cases released) and while it has hints of smoky vanilla it has ate up that oak in a polished way, revealing a deep floral perfume and with a full bodied personality with opulent blackberry, sweet creme de cassis, plum and blueberry along with crushed violets, briar spice, cigar wrapper/tobacco, anise, chalky stones and cedar, picking up the Cabernet Sauvignon character in this opaquely dark and lengthy wine. This Bixby Reserve is a thrilling and big shouldered red, coming in at 15% natural alcohol, much in the same vein as L’Aventure’s Estate Cuvee, another wine that has lots of Petit Verdot in it, it has an amazing finish that goes on and on picking up racy currants, kirsch and acacia blossoms. Again, even though this is no wallflower or shy wine, I was surprised at the mineral streak and the focused structure that hides the weight in this sexy wine, though I certainly recommend robust cuisine to cut through the gripping tannin, it should prove a worthy cellar selection as well, drink over the next 5 to 7 years.
($80 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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