When Fess Parker was cast in the roll of Davy Crockett in the mid-1950's, it caused an international sensation and changed his life forever. So, too, did the purchase of 714 acres in the Santa Ynez Valley change the course of the Parker family's history.
Realizing the potential of Santa Barbara County as a premium grape-growing region, Fess and his son, Eli, originally set out in 1989 to plant a small vineyard and sell fruit to local producers. But, as Fess' daughter, Ashley explains, "Fess is from Texas, so he can't do anything small." The Fess Parker Winery and Vineyard now farms almost 700 acres on four vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County.
Learn More About Riesling
The Riesling grape is happiest in a cooler climate, one that fosters its slow
and steady ripening. Often assumed to be the producer of only sweet wines, Riesling
is a fascinating grape of many faces. From bone dry to lusciously sweet, this
variety is delicious at any sugar level with its intense aromas and steely acidity.
Most popular in Germany
the Riesling grape is grown on steep, sun-facing slopes of these cooler climates.
It can be made in dry or sweet styles – Germany's qualification system for Rieslings
is actually based on ripeness level and the grape is almost always bottled as
a sole varietal in the country. In Alsace, Riesling can be blended, although typically not, and is most
often made in a dry style.
Riesling has an extremely high level of acidity. That acidity is matched by
the intensity of the grape's floral and fruit aromas. A number of descriptors
are associated with Riesling due to its tendency to adopt the characteristics
of where it is grown. Rieslings of the Mosel are distinctive because its flavors
reflect the region's slate soils, while its partner in Alsace displays less
soil character and more peach and apricot nuances due to the warmer climate.
For dry styles of Riesling, look to Germany's Kabinett levels, Alsace, Washington State, Australia and
New Zealand. For a slightly sweeter style, look to Germany's wines of the Spatlese
and Auslese levels. If you can afford it, and want a true, decadent and sweet experience, look for
the Beerenauslese and Trokenbeerenauslese styles. Hedonistic.
Summing it up
Successful Sites: Germany, Alsace, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Washington
State, California, New York State
steely, peach, mineral, floral, petrol, orange blossom, citrus
Learn More About Central Coast, California
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others.
Grape varieties range from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. Some Central Coast wine is generic, bulk wine that contributes to the high production numbers of the area. But many winemakers and wineries, particular in some of the smaller AVAs, are small production artisans, creating unique and high-quality wine. The great thing about the Central Coast is its diversity - you're able to find a number of grape varieties and styles at a number of different price points.
I first had this wine in Disney's MGM Studios park at a restaurant called Mama Melrose. It's a sweet, beautiful wine with scents of peaches and lychee fruit and the very slight effervescence often found in Rieslings. A wondeful choice for both new drinkers and seasoned professionals.