Fess Parker has lived his life as a pioneer. Perhaps it’s because he is a Texan, or because as a successful television actor he embodied the roles of both Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. Or maybe it started with Fess being one of the earliest members of the Santa Barbara Vintners Association, after he and his family started Fess Parker Winery in Santa Barbara over 25 years ago. Regardless of when the pioneering spirit began, Fess passed it on to his family. After successfully crafting quality Rhone and Burgundian varieties for over 25 years, the second generation has embarked on a journey to craft world class Napa Valley wines based on Bordeaux varietals. This new journey is called Addendum Wines.
According to Merriam-Webster, the meaning of addendum is “a thing added, an addition, supplement to a book.” However, Addendum is much more than a thing added to Fess Parker. Tim Snider, President of Fess Parker Winery, explained “the name refers to building or adding to something established; a next step.” In addition to crafting quality wines in Santa Barbara for over half a century, Fess Parker Winery is ready to expand, add a new dimension to their portfolio. When the decision was made by the family to expand the portfolio to include high quality Bordeaux blend wines, no place else would do but Napa Valley.
Winemaker Blair Fox has been making wine for Fess Parker for over a decade. His goal with Addendum wines is to “fashion expressive yet balanced wines that represent the very best of Cabernet Sauvignon.” Good start! Over the years Blair has won many accolades and high scores for his wines. He has also established himself in the winemaking community as a kind person, resulting in many friendships. Some of those friendships have manifested into working relationships in Napa Valley. Addendum is sourcing their grapes from some of Napa’s finest vineyards in Atlas Peak AVA and Rutherford AVA.
“Having focused on the winery’s estate Burgundy and Rhône varietal vineyards, I’m thrilled to craft the Bordeaux varietal ‘Addendum’ to our portfolio,” said Blair. “The vineyards and clonal selection of the Napa vineyards from which we source are of such high quality, and the Parkers are a great family to work for.”
Addendum gave meticulous consideration for the soil when selecting vineyards to source their fruit. “It is the Addendum philosophy that few factors are more important in winemaking than the farming of appropriately matched varieties and soils.” Stagecoach Vineyard in Atlas Peak AVA is the largest continuous vineyard in Napa Valley. Famed for its volcanic soil, elevations ranging from 1200 – 1800 feet, and its wild terrain surrounded by wild herbs and native plants. Addendum sources from two blocks spanning 1.5 acres, planted in 1998. The famed Rutherford AVA vineyard is a historic site originally planted in 1895, by Mrs Thomas Rutherford. This historic vineyard ranks among the best vineyard sites in the world; famed for its iconic Rutherford dust resulting from its dense clay content on the valley floor. Addendum sources from a 1.5 acres block planted in the mid-1990’s.
I tasted these four wines in a virtual tasting hosted by Charles Communication. The wines were sent to me for the tasting; however, all thoughts and opinions of the wines and Addendum are my own.
2014 Addendum Skellenger Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($95): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from prominent vineyard in Rutherford; medium+ ruby; medium aromas of stewed dark fruit, sweet baking spice, dried violets and savory herbs, black pepper, cassis, classic Rutherford dust, leather, toasted walnuts; rich and round on the palate, layers of flavors, dust follows through on palate along with minerality, balanced high acidity and dusty tannins, great structure with long aging potential, full body, long dusty earth finish; 116 cases
2014 Addendum Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($95): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Stagecoach Vineyard in Atlas Peak; medium+ ruby with violet hues; medium+ aromas black and red plums, blackberries, cherries, dried roses, cassis, sweet baking spice, sage, black pepper, trailing menthol, olives, mocha, leather, fresh crushed tobacco, medicinal, deep minerality; lush mouthfeel, sexy and smooth, layers of flavors, elegance, balanced high acidity with integrated tannins, full body, juicy fruit on palate and finish with a vein of minerality; beautiful wine that will age for years; 115 cases
2014 Addendum Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley USA ($90): 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from 33% Stagecoach Vineyard and 67% other Napa Valley vineyards; deep ruby; medium+ aromas plums, currants, cherries, black berries, sweet baking spice, dusty roses, fresh tobacco leaves, dried savory herbs, milk chocolate, vanilla; ripe and round, fruit forward on palate with nice dusty earth on finish, elegant, balanced medium+ acidity and youthful tannins, full body, long finish, fantastic aging potential; 276 cases
2014 Addendum Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah Napa Valley USA ($90): 56% Cabernet Sauvignon and 44% Syrah sourced from Stagecoach Vineyards in Atlas Peak; deep ruby; medium aromas of red plums, cherries, black raspberries, sweet baking spice, fresh tobacco, leather, smoke, savory dried herbs, chocolate covered espresso beans, menthol; rich and elegant full body wine with layers of flavors, great structure, balanced high acidity with pronounced youthful tannins, another one with aging potential; 215 cases
Overall impression of these four wines is elegant, sophisticated, tasting well now but will age beautifully, opulent but not over the top, well-balanced with oak treatment, beautiful Napa Valley cabs worth seeking out. These wines will be available in September, 2017 so mark your calendar, these limited production wines will go quickly.
A note about price. Tim Snyder explained Fess Parker did not seek to make expensive Napa Valley wines. Their goal was to make high quality Bordeaux varietals sourced from the finest Napa Valley vineyards. The reality is that goal comes with a price tag. For many these are special occasion wines to buy, cellar, then share with friends and family at the right time, whether it be a Tuesday or celebrating a birthday. To learn more about Addendum Wines visit their web site.
My Song Selection:
Get your own bottle of Addendum wine and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!