2003 Parsonage Village Vineyard, Syrah “Cuvee Rocco” Reserve, Carmel Valley Estate.
I pulled this one from my own cellar while on vacation to see how it has aged, and I was pretty surprised on how youthful it was, considering it is a heavy weight style with really ripe fruit and over 15% alcohol. There was a lot of attention to detail and only about two barrels were produced from the vintage of Cuvee Rocco, named for Bill Parson’s grandson, all the grapes were de-stemmed and it was aged in 100% new French oak barriques. Parson’s estate which is all hillside vines above the Carmel river in Carmel Valley makes only a tiny amount of artisan wine, they have Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Petit Verdot and some Merlot of which they do special bottling of each separate varietal and a blended cuvee of reserve lots, the Cuvee Rocco is 100% Syrah. Carmel Valley can in certain years excel in Cabernet, Merlot and interestingly Petit Verdot, but so far it has only been Parsonage that has done extremely well with Syrah and the Cuvee Rocco is their top version with intense dark color and hedonistic layers of fruit it is a very exotic wine. The 2003 is loaded with creme de cassis, blackberry, boysenberry and espresso/mocha flavors with touches of sweet toasty oak, bacon and anise added to the mix making for a big full bodied red that needs a good red meat or blue cheese pairing to bring out it’s best side. I found no porty/pruney in the wine, so it seems to avoid the overdone label even being so weighty, but it is not as lively as it might be and I would say it was time now to enjoy this sleek and modern Syrah. I have in the past rated it much higher, though over time I have moved away from this style of wine, and it is not a reflection of the wine going down in quality, in fact this wine is remarkable and very impressive for it’s age and it was fun to see it through different eyes.
($50-75 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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