The tasting flight at Parrish Family Vineyard in downtown Paso Robles includes one hit after another. We were first impressed with the Sauvignon Blanc for its brilliant green apple flavor with a hint of banana without any harsh grapefruit or minerality. Then, the Pinot Noir blew us away with its bright Monterey fruit and just enough earth to balance it. Then, the Petite Sirah has the most succulent blueberry flavor with soft silky tannins. But the king of grapes rules here. Their Cabernet Sauvignon has such ripe plump black cherry and plum with a hint of spice and a long velvety finish. They blend it with Syrah and Petite Sirah for an aptly named Silken, which is a local favorite for its well-rounded silky texture.
What makes all these wines stand out, is David Parrish’s devotion to the vines and conscientiousness in the cellar. His many years of experience in Napa’s days of emerging growth certainly prepared him for his return to Paso Robles during its prime to launch his family vineyard. But it’s the way he babies the vines that makes a difference. He’s known for going through the vineyard more than once to remove grapes that are behind in ripening, pouring more flavor into the ones that remain. His team is known for their cleanliness in practicing barrel isolation. While it may be a bit of extra work to use different tools for each barrel, their barrels do not pick up imperfections from other barrels.
How the Silken gets so silky is probably due to the fact that each wine ages in separate barrels and additional aging occurs after it is blended. Finally, they do extensive bottle aging on all their reds. But what they pour tells the story much better than I can.