Mark Enlow transplanted from California about 7 years ago to begin Parkhurst Wine Cellars in the Rogue Valley AVA of southern Oregon. He is a Culinary Institute of America graduate, so not only a Chef (with a very discerning palate), but vineyard-winery manager for many years. He swears he visited our store back in the mid-1990s when working as a special account representative for Southern Wine & Spirits (largest distributor in the United States).
Mark is a great example of those in the wine trade being drawn to the dynamics of the Rogue Valley. By way of referral, I first met with Mark for about an hour by phone when we were snowed in at our cottage during a frigid April trip to Ashland. Then again in early June, we met with Mark and his wife Susan at their home near Jacksonville to sample at least a dozen plus new releases and library wines they were kind enough to open for us.
Please note, the Parkhurst's tasting room has not yet been rebuilt, after the newly opened venue was severely damaged in the catastrophic Almeda wildfire that swept through the region's Bear Creek Greenway in early September 2020 destroying over 2600 homes.
Enlow loves the local wild west history, and so the origin of the Parkhurst name pays homage to the pioneering spirit, adversity, and legendary story of “One-eyed” Charley Parkhurst. Orphaned at a very early age and striking out alone at just 12 years of age, Charley lost an eye while working with an unruly horse. Regardless, Charley began working with large teams of horses, and became renown over the years as “The Whip” while running stagecoaches loaded with gold, valuable cargo, and passengers often with inclement weather and over the untamed territory between California and Oregon. A trail weary and weather-beaten Charley eventually retired, but it was only after Parkhurst’s death when the coroner collected the body did it become evident that Charley was actually Charlotte Parkhurst.
OUR NOTES! Most compelling! Deep, redolent, and so fresh with robust and vivid spice enhanced cherry cola-balsamic berries aromatics. A savory, dark cherry, juicy fruit core glides across the mid-palate. Medium-bodied, perfectly balanced with a seamless and soothing texture. Refined and elegant, with an extended finish. At six years now, this wine is approaching its peak window of drinkability. However, it should still be vibrant and beautiful to drink for at least another five. Can’t wait to try with king salmon/cedar plank, a wild mushroom risotto, pork chops or duck breast with fresh cherry salsa. Perfect for future Thanksgiving tables!
- Wine Spectator rates the 2016 Oregon Pinot Noir vintage at 97 points “Classic”.
- The Oregon Wine Press magazine ranked the 2016 Parkhurst Pinot Noir in its Top Seven 2016/2017 “Cellar Selects: Pinot Noir” (See below – May 1, 2019 “Tantalizing taste of ‘16s and ‘17s.”
- The 2016 Parkhurst Pinot Noir was actually ranked #3 among the 2016s from over 300 wines sampled for this bi-annual report.
- More significantly, the other six Pinot Noir were from the Willamette Valley, while the 2016 Parkhurst Pinot Noir was the only Rogue Valley Pinot Noir to make the list.
- Additionally, 2016 Parkhurst Pinot Noir won GOLD MEDAL at the 2019 San Francisco Wine Competition, and GOLD MEDAL at the 2018 Oregon Wine Experience.
- Harvested August 30th, 2016, co-fermented Dijon Clones #667, #115 & #777 from Stomp Vineyard at 1800 ft elevation in the Carpenter Hill District. The wine has been aged in 50% once used French oak, and 50% twice used French oak. 14.1% Alcohol.
- Parkhurst “Library Selection”. We are privy to the final 20 cases of just 112 produced.
2016 Parkhurst Pinot Noir – “A decadent nose of cola, dark raspberry, toasted cinnamon stick, rhubarb, strawberry and honey butter leads to a pleasant experience at first sip. A “Goldilocks” wine of “just right” proportions. Dusty milk-chocolatey cocoa powder defines the texture and flavor along with dried cherry and a hint of fresh mint. $40; 112 cases.” – Oregon Wine Press, May 1, 2019.
FOOTNOTES: If you missed the Norm Roby article on the Rogue Valley AVA > Wine Review Online - Going Rogue: Exciting Diversity and Outright Excellence in Oregon - December 21, 2021 OREGON WINE EXPERIENCE (just outside of Medford near Jacksonville – August 17th -21st) Tickets available online!