YAKIMA, Wash. -- There is probably no place more magical for a wine lover than Italy.
The food, wine and people are a combination that can’t be beat. It’s a must for any lover of wine and culture. Although you could spend a lifetime traveling Italy, most of us only get a week or two for a visit, if we’re lucky; after that it’s back to work.
Len Parris and his wife, Jane, returned home from a visit to Italy embracing the magic of the lifestyle. A group of friends spent three weeks enjoying the Italian way of life while vacationing in the spring of 1997. Part of the nightly ritual during their visit included sitting on an old brick half-wall overlooking the countryside with a jug of locally made sangiovese table wine.
Len became particularly comfortable with the scenery, lifestyle and yes, the wine — so much so that he began thinking of the 21.5 acres of land his father owned near Benton City, a world away from his Seattle businesses. He mentioned the prospect of developing the land into a Tuscan-style vineyard during their trip; to his friends, the deal was done. Len needed a bit more convincing, but ultimately decided this was his project.
Today, the original 21.5-acre parcel has expanded to 42 acres of planted vineyard with six different grape varieties including the sangiovese, sangiovese clone of Brunello and Barbera to honor the visit, the lifestyle and the old brick wall that inspired Parris’ decision to plant a vineyard and build a winery in the Yakima Valley.
The winery overlooks the Yakima River, the vineyard and Red Mountain in the distance. Its architecture is a reflection of its Italian-style wines. The Tuscan villa houses the main tasting room and special events room where you can enjoy the Italian varieties from the vineyard as well as cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot and syrah. All Chandler Reach wines showcase the balance and ageability of Yakima Valley wines.
Chandler Reach vineyard and winery is the culmination of a dream come true. If you can’t spend a lifetime traveling Italy, bring a taste of Italy into your life. Distinctive Italian style wines, a stunning tasting room, a breathtaking setting and a passionate staff make Chandler Reach worth a visit.
■ 2017 Chandler Reach Monte Dolce Sangiovese Rosé. The always popular Monte Dolce Rosé is a bright, off-dry sangiovese rosé with crisp flavors of strawberry and a hint of sweetness. Rosés are synonymous with summer sipping, but don’t overlook how well this wine pairs with a variety of different dishes throughout the year. $19.
■ 2015 Chandler Reach Brunello, Yakima Valley. This is 100 percent sangiovese clone from Brunello vines from Montalcino. A small lot production, this wine is classic Brunello with red fruit, great acidity and finish. It’s a good wine to cellar for the future. $35.
■ 2013 Parris Reserve Sangiovese, Yakima Valley. This one features a dazzling cranberry color and aromatics of caramel with floral undertones. There are flavors of red fruit, cherries, raspberries and cranberries with hints of savory herbs. $40.
■ 2014 Parris Reserve Barbera, Yakima Valley. This wine has a beautiful ruby-red color with aromas of dried red fruit and flavors of strawberry and blackberry with savory notes. This is a lighter-bodied wine with great acidity. It is the most exclusive of the Parris Estate Reserves, a collector’s favorite. It is produced in extremely small lots for club members only — well worth joining the club for. $40.
• Barbara Glover is executive director of Wine Yakima Valley, an industry group representing member wineries.