Vineyard and Region Information: Rattlesnake Rock was the first of our vineyard blocks to be planted in 2000. It consists primarily of an Alban Cote Rotie field selection with some Alban Baby Block selection and clones 174 and 470. This exposed and often windy vineyard is located between 1300-1400 ft elevation with the steep South and South/West facing rows oriented North-South with 8x4 ft spacing. The soils are a high iron content shale and sandstone with shallow clay loam topsoil.
Vintage Notes: 2015 was a year with painfully low yields, but delivered concentrated and distinctive wines. The fourth year of drought combined with cold, wet weather during flowering kept berry size small, intensifying flavors and forming supple tannins. Weather throughout the growing season and into harvest was as good as one could expect.
Wine Notes: As the vines in the Rattlesnake Rock block get older, they seem to be producing darker and more brooding expressions of Syrah. The 2015 is no exception with notes of baked plums, huckleberries, cigar box, anise and hints of white pepper and indian spice. We aged this wine exclusively in 300 liter hogs heads, with two out of seven being new very tight grain French oak with a long light toast. We have found this particular combination provides the greatest transparency and least noticeable oak impact. We also upped the percentage of whole clusters used in the fermentations which lifts the aromatic profile while adding some structure to the wine. We have found that Rattlesnake Rock Syrah takes longer than some of our other wines to unveil itself in bottle. As we approach it's release, it is still tightly wound, yet with an obvious density and a long sustained finish that hint at a very bright future ahead. We would expect this wine to really start showing it's true colors with three plus years of bottle age, and it should age gracefully for another 10-20 years after that.
Wine Reviews: 93+ Points, "The 2015 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock is a very beautiful, polished wine. Silky tannins and a Pinot-like purity to the fruit are among the signatures. Aromatic and quite fresh, the 2015 is simply impeccable. Hints of dark cherry and plum are nicely pushed forward, but the 2015 is a ways off from showing everything it’s got. Even so, it is impressive in the early going." - Antonio Galloni, Vinous. 93 Points, "From what could be considered the home estate vineyard of Big Basin Vineyards, the 2015 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah was two-thirds destemmed and spent just under two years in 29% new French oak. Its deep purple/ruby color gives way to a concentrated, rich, masculine Syrah that has classic notes of blackberries, peppered meats, olive, and hints of bacon fat. This medium to full-bodied Syrah from Bradley has terrific purity, integrated acidity, and a great finish. Give it 2-3 years and enjoy over the following decade or more." - Jeb Dunnuck