Last month, I had the good
fortune to lunch at Pago
restaurant with two Utahbased
partners of Napa Valley’s
Parallel Wines, Joe Sargetakis and
Val Chin. I’ve written in the past
about Parallel, which is not Utah
wine but has a strong connection
to Utah, since six of the eight operating
(Joe & Paula Sargetakis, Mac & Ann
MacQuoid and Steve & Val Chin)
are based right here in the Beehive.
Mike and Toni Doilney left Park
City after 30 years and moved to St.
Helena, in Napa, where the Parallel
vineyards and winery are located.
The reason for our get-together (like I need a reason to taste great wine?) was to sample Parallel’s new releases: The 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($50), 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay ($33) and 2006 Napa Valley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($125). In case you haven’t heard the Parallel story before, in a nutshell, it goes like this: Four Park City couples who shared parallel passions for skiing, food, wine and community service, among other things, decided to funnel some of that passion into winemaking. Before they could talk themselves out of it, they’d purchased a Napa Valley winery and hired the renowned French winemaker Philippe Melka (Food & Wine 2005 Winemaker of the Year) in tandem with the equally sought-after vineyard manager Jim Barbour. The inaugural 2003 Parallel Cabernet Sauvignon was stunning, yet affordable. Each year, Parallel wines get better and better. This year marks a new beginning of sorts as Parallel launches its first-ever Chardonnay. I think you’re gonna like it.
When Joe Sargetakis talks about the
four couples’ Parallel Wines project, he
says, “We love this! We’re gregarious, we
have a great time together, but what ends
up in the bottle is serious—because we
hired the best of the best in Jim Barbour
and Philippe Melka—and I think that
reflects what comes out of the bottle.”
Val Chin concurs, saying, “Every endeavor
that we individually have taken on, we’ve
done it to the max. There’s no half-effort.”
Sargetakis adds, “It’s all passion, it’s all
fun, it’s all … I don’t know … it’s how you
express yourself. The focus for us is to say to
people, ‘Come. Welcome. Enjoy with us.’”
The first time I tasted the new 2007
Parallel Chardonnay, it didn’t impress me.
However, tasting it again at Pago made
me realize I’d first sampled the Parallel
Chard too cold—it had come straight
from my fridge. At a warmer temp, I was
able to enjoy the beauty of this well-built
Chardonnay. (Lesson learned: Stop putting
good wine in the refrigerator!)
Parallel Chardonnay from the fridge
tastes like an oak bomb. It is, after all, aged
in French oak puncheons for 16 months. But
at an appropriate temperature—and once
the wine opens up a bit—it’s a parade of
pretty aromas: apricot, honeydew and a hint
of pineapple. It’s a big-bodied Chardonnay—
complex, layered and harmonious.
2006 Parallel Cabernet Sauvignon is classic California, which just shows how well French winemaker Philippe Melka has adjusted to the New World. If you love blackberries, you’ll love this wine. It exudes blackberries, blackberries, and more blackberries, with just a hint of black cherry and ultra-fine tannins.
2006 Parallel Estate Cabernet
Sauvignon: I’d love to bathe in this stuff.
OMG, so luscious … so concentrated … so
opulent … so freakin’ big. At $125, it isn’t
cheap—it’s certainly beyond my budget—
but, in a blind tasting, I’d swear this was a
wine that cost three times that price. Start
saving your dough, because this one’s just
gonna get better.