Chandler Reach Vineyards 2004 Parris Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
May 14, 2009 by Erin Thomas
*Bottle #62: Chandler Reach Vineyards 2004 Parris Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
*Price Tag: $42
*Running Tab: $849
“Vintner” is a term sometimes too loosely coined. There are many “vintners” around with “estate vineyards” and “cellar crews” producing “Washington wine.”
Let me break it down for you courtesy of Wikipedia, the pinnacle of truthiness.
Vintner: “A person engaged in making wine.” In abuse of this title, a vintner can also mean owner, the face of the company or the money of the company, more so than the actual winemaker. However, Joe Schmo can own the winery and name it after himself with his cellar crew doing the real work and he’ll still be credited as the proverbial winemaker and vintner.
I have to admit I thought Len Parris, of Chandler Reach Vineyards, was this such “vintner.” Charismatic, business-sharp and a borderline hustler, Len can wheel and deal his wines with the best of ‘em, along with his string of “Seattle-area” coffee stands and construction experience which shines through in his villa of a winery in Yakima. Plastered all over the winery’s Web site is Len’s obsession with Tuscany and his love affair with wine, in a far-from modest, look-at-me style I’ve come to expect from showmen winemakers…<!–more–>
It took Passport to Woodinville, the drunken debacle of wine on the Westside of the mountains, for me to learn he does make his own wine and I probably owe him an apology, especially since he kept insisting on saying my name 20 times to remember it, giving hefty pours and “only the best” for “Erin, Erin, Erin” to taste.
Textbook vintner Len Parris runs his red wine show in his Benton City (home of the much-acclaimed Red Mountain AVA) address but produces Yakima Valley AVA wines. When faced with Syrah, Sangiovese and a couple blends, I went with the 42-acre estate vineyard’s 2004 Parris Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon – a classic varietal for Yakima Valley.
Tight aromas upfront, this ’04 Cab blossoms into dark stone fruits with lush and vibrant blackberries and stewy raspberries. Chewy, meaty and juicy, this wine isn’t enormous in the Napa Cab sense of those descriptors but is medium-plus bodied with a full and fruit-prosperous stance. Still ripe with tannins that roll around on the sides of your tongue, this bottle has high levels of “drinkability” today and could handle some more bottle time before cracking it open.
This is a food-friendly Cab, which I’ve found myself saying a lot lately in reference to that varietal. You know how there’s sometimes those Cabs that you can ONLY have with a steak otherwise the mere tannic intensity may rip your face off? That is not food-friendly. That is food-please-save-me-or-I-will-suffer-death-by-tartaric-acids.
The Parris Estate Reserve Cab paired beautifully with pork and even with my saffron-red pepper oil scallops that you will soon read about in an upcoming print issue of some fabulous wine magazine that I also happen to write for…
Thanks, Len, for finally remembering my name, being true to your school of vintners and making a good, death-defying Cab from Yakima.