2015 Parrish Cabernet Sauvignon – A (Weeping) Review


One of the most satisfying things about being a member of the wine community is the fact that they are so generous. Except for Steve. He won’t share his Petrus. Begging doesn’t help. My eye’s on you, Steve.

The Class

Tasting Wine with Friends

I was preparing to teach my wine class a few months back and decided to share a bottle of wine with club members. I rambled through one of my coolers and found a bottle of 2015 Parrish Cabernet Sauvignon. 2015, like 2010 and 2005, was a beautiful vintage year, and I thought that I would just go ahead and share it. Understand that I bought the bottle in 2019, which was my first visit to the “ranch house” since they closed their downtown tasting room. The tasting room, which is breathtakingly gorgeous, is located near Villicana, one of my and The Wineaux Guy’s™  favorite wineries.

I opened the bottle after we were done with the class and offered to share it with a few people. I poured a little in my glass first just to test for any flaws or faults.

Wow! Blown away!

Before I tell you about the wine, let me share a little history, sprinkled generously with my unasked-for opinions. Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon had been kind of like Chilean Cabs in the past. When I first arrived in Paso in 2006, Paso Robles was all about Zinfandel. Zinfandel is Paso’s grape! There were also some Rhône blends – thank you Tablas Creek – but not a lot of Cabs. Some of the Cabs I tasted were kind of bell peppery and did not have a lot of appeal. Some were like drinking salad. So I stuck with Napa Cabs when I started testing and needed them to get my palate calibrated for wines. When you’re taking any kind of exam, you have to know what you’re tasting, and they had to be typical for the varietal (typicity). I did not want to depend on Paso Robles Cabernets as my benchmark.

Inside the Parrish Tasting Room

I had tasted a few in the ensuing years and had noticed that they were getting better and better. At the same time, I had tasted other varietals and noticed that they, too, were getting better. Rhône blends were more polished, more Old World like. Paso’s famous jamny, highly alcoholic Zinfandels were getting more moderated and balanced. They weren’t the fruit bombs they had been before. Zinfandel was tasting like a wine rather than something you’d spread on bread with peanut butter with J. Dusi – home of the iconic Zinfandel vineyard – taking the lead on this. In other words, Paso Robles was maturing. Some of the wines were easily coming up to the quality level of Napa wines, but without the attitude (“Napattude”). The 17% ABV has, in time, come down to a much more reasonable (and less hangover-inducing) 14.5-15.5%. Some are still high in alcohol, but the flavors and complexity have matured as well.

And Now, the Parrish Cabernet

It was magnificent. In fact, it was so very gorgeous that I had more than a long minute of regret in deciding to share. Now understand that this was still a Paso Robles Cabernet, so it’s not like I could just sit down and drink the bottle by myself. I value my liver and my health too much for that. That being said, the wine was simply gorgeous. And not just “for a Paso Cab,” but gorgeous in its own right. And considering that I only paid about 30/40-something dollars for it in 2019, it was more than a bargain. I’ve tasted some of the higher-end Cabernets from Napa, including Hall, Shafer, Insignia, and Heitz, and I would easily put this wine up against any of them. It was that good.

Going through my notes, which I took in copious amounts when I was tasting the wine, brought back all the memories and why this wine is still right there, taking up space in my brain. And why I was weeping inside as my other folks were enjoying it just as much as I was.

Malbec, Not Cab. Cool pic, though, huh?

First of all, it was lovely; a deep red with barely a water rim. It had beautiful clarity with a depth that seemed to go for miles. On the nose, there was blackberry, cherry, a touch of vanilla (and chocolate. Go figure) with notes of herbs, but not “herbal.” It was full-bodied and luxurious on the tongue, with blackberry, blueberry, cassis, baking spice, and maraschino cherry flavors. The tannins were chewy but not overly grippy and had beautifully integrated into the wine. It was easily one of the best Cabernets I’ve had in a while. This could easily go onto a “testable” wines list of the Guild of Sommeliers (GS), Court of Master Sommeliers (CMS), Wine and Spirits Education Trust (WSET), Society of Wine Educators (SWE), or the Institute of Masters of Wine (IMW). Actually, the MW tasting exam is so crazy that it’s probably already on there. But that’s a discussion for a different date.

I don’t do scores because what do I know, but I can say that I loved this wine, and I think any Cab aficionado would enjoy it at least as much as I did. Even if I did (somewhat reluctantly) share. If I had to give a score, I’d rather give a grade. A. It was an A.

Parrish Family Vineyard
3590 Adelaida Rd
Paso Robles, CA 93446-9781
(805) 286-4028

As a final note, I was disappointed to see that Parrish isn’t a member of the Paso Robles Cab Collective (PRCC), a, um collective of wineries that make high-quality Cabernet Sauvignon in Paso Robles.

Vegas Wineaux
Vegas Wineauxhttp://vegaswineaux.com
Life now, especially after leaving the day job, is even crazier! I hope that you continue to follow and enjoy the wine and Vegas news!


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