92 Insider Points
Gold Medal 92 Points- Beverage Testing Institute
Fruit-Driven Pinot is a Definite Crowd Pleaser
Steve Hill, of Parmelee-Hill, strolls into the office from time to time, with a big smile under a John Deere baseball cap. He's one of them good ol' boys, and he makes a Pinot that'll get a room full of heads nodding in satisfaction. Here it is, in all its glory.
Jammy strawberry & earl grey pop out on the nose. Full-bodied on the palate with dried raspberry, potpourri and rose petals. A rush of fruit berries on the finish leaves it lingering nicely. I'm inclined to drink this with some salty pork chops and and mash potatoes. Mmmmm.
92 Points - JZ January '18
"Bright medium-dark garnet color. Lively, fruity aromas and flavors of sour cherry, beets, buttery spiced nuts, and coconut custard with a silky, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, elegant, medium-length marinated root vegetables, balsamic on strawberries, and nut brittle finish with well-integrated, chewy, fine tannins and no oak. A delightfully savory and mouthwatering pinot pleaser"- Beverage Testing Institute
Home to some of Sonoma’s most acclaimed and sought-after Pinot Noir, a small hilltop in the foothills of southwestern Sonoma offers damn fine terroir by the glass. Parmalee Hill Estate shares a neighborly fence with nearby (and much pricier) Durell Vineyard in this hallowed place.
The Coastal breezes and fog clamber along this landscape as they make their way up from the San Pablo Bay. They form a cool blanket over the rocky volcanic soils in which Pinot Noir vines have rooted themselves in glory. And the wine that Parmelee produces from their vines is concentrated and intensely aromatic.
While Parmelee-Hill sells much of their prized fruit to the likes of Patz & Hall, Loring, and Ram’s Gate, they hold back enough for this scant 1,000-case offering. It’s a big deal for our sourcing team each vintage to offer something so profoundly glorious and limited as this 2013 Parmelee-Hill Estate Pinot. And each year it sells in a flash since at this price it’s a bit of heaven for a pittance.
Why we love it:
- Tantalizing and rich, the juicy red berry palate of Parmelee-Hill’s 2013 Estate Pinot is something of a showoff. Hints of zesty white pepper and sweet oak linger in the flanks to frame this succulent gem.
- Don’t let that youthful flavor fool you though. The tantric art of “just wait a bit” is strong in this bottle. It’ll develop into complex layers of cigar box, leather, spice, and warm roasted berry compote over the next 5 years or so.
- Owner Steve Hill is prone to letting “nature take its course” in his wines, but each year his Parmelee-Hill masterpieces score high and overachieve at wine competitions.
- Steve Hill knows what he’s doing too. In 1978, Steve was tapped by Ed Durrell to manage his vineyard. Three decades later, Steve’s roll call for Ed’s fruit included Kistler, Chateau St. Jean, Patz & Hall, and Auteur Vineyards.
- After 30 years, Steve and his wife launched their namesake Parmelee-Hill. And they’ve got their hands on everything from hand harvesting, night picking, hand sorting, and a gravity-fed winery to ensure that you get only the absolute best expression of their incredible vista view vineyard.
Bright medium-dark garnet color. Lively, fruity aromas and flavors of sour cherry, beets, buttery spiced nuts, and coconut custard with a silky, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity medium-full body and a warming, elegant, medium-length marinated root vegetables, balsamic on strawberries, and nut brittle finish with well-integrated, chewy, fine tannins and no oak. A delightfully savory and mouthwatering pinot pleaser
Steve Hill and his wife Gwen Parmelee Hill purchased the first parcel of their Parmelee-Hill Vineyards property in 1994 and planted it with Syrah. In subsequent years Steve and Gwen purchased adjoining acreage, piecing together what is today the 70 acre Parmelee-Hill Vineyard.
Steve had known the property well, as it was once part of the celebrated Durell Ranch, although had never before been planted. Parmelee-Hill Vineyards lies in the Southwest corner of the Sonoma Valley Appellation, a stones throw from the Carneros line.
The heart of the Parmelee-Hill property sits on a knoll that faces the Sonoma Valley to the East and San Pablo Bay to the South. The climate is typical of coastal influenced areas. Morning fog retreats during warming midday hours. The warmth is commonly broken however by intense afternoon ocean winds that quickly drop the temperature. The fog sometimes retreats only as far as the Western hills until it blows back overhead fairly early in the afternoon. This type of climate tends to be self-restricting, resulting in naturally low-yielding vines producing fruit with intense flavor.
The unique Parmelee-Hill site allows the propagation of Syrah and Zinfandel on southwest and eastern facing slopes and Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Roussanne on the exposed rock and clay flats.
Grapes from Parmelee-Hill Vineyards are sold to such notable wineries as Armida, Loxton, Orin Swift, Patz and Hall, Ram's Gate, Saxon-Brown, Glen Lyon, Loring and Steele. Many of these wineries make a vineyard designate from the ranch. Click map for a larger image.
Steve continues to consult on the adjacent Durell Ranch, he has farmed since planting the first vines in 1979. He has a little bit of a head start when it comes to Syrah too. What is believed to be the first Vineyard Designate Syrah in Sonoma County was produced by Kendall Jackson and Edmunds St. John in the 1980’s from grapes grown by Steve next door on the Durell Ranch.
Steve and Ned keep an eye on every little detail, farming for world-class quality. The wines made from their grapes are the result of their constant commitment to grape growing excellence.
Uncork alongside mushroom risotto, roast pork, braised chicken.