The story of the Estate vineyard began in 1998 when I first discovered this property that would be Big Basin Vineyards. My passion for Syrah and feeling that it would be ideally suited to these steep hillsides of the coastal Santa Cruz Mountains compelled me to make it our starting point. With help from Rhone Ranger John Alban as our viticultural consultant, I began the process of discovery to begin creating the palette of varietals (colors) that would form the basis of our Estate wines.
Big Basin Vineyards all started with an unbridled passion for wine which led to a desire to grow fine wine grapes. But really before that, I have always felt a deep connection with nature – a semester living outdoors on NOLs (National Outdoor Leadership School), moving into the Santa Cruz Mountains, climbing outdoors in many beautiful places, and hiking and backpacking all over – were all in pursuit of this connection. It was this passion for the natural world that led me to start with planting a vineyard.
Learning the art of winemaking has been one of the more fulfilling adventures I have undertaken in this life. And my exploration of the use of whole clusters in fermentations has been one of the more compelling parts of this grand adventure. I was originally coached in the use of 100% whole berry fermentations (destemmed, but with intact berries), and so my adventure humbly began there
We find ourselves in these holiday and winter months taking time for rejuvenation and a bit of introspection. As we enter 2019, we are approaching the 20th anniversary of the first planting in our Estate vineyard. And having just finished what could be described as an epic vintage, we see how far we have come. I want to give a big thank you to all of you out there who have been with us since near the beginning, through our evolution of style to where we find ourselves now with wines of energy, finesse, transparency and hopefully, ever so satisfying. In all ways, this annual release of our latest Coastview Vineyard wines represents where we are at in this evolution of style.
The 2017 harvest season has been an interesting one by many accounts, and now unfortunately for some, a devastating one as wildfires ravage wine country north of San Francisco. When I woke up at 4am Monday AM to the smell of wildfire smoke, I knew that there was trouble brewing somewhere and it seemed like it might be close. Little did I know the extent. And even now, reports are just coming in and our hearts go out to all of those impacted by these fires and we can only hope they get them quickly under control.
The writing of this newsletter marks a return for me back to the essence of the vision behind Big Basin Vineyards – to tell the story of our relentless pursuit to make authentic and transparent wines that express a sense of place. Newsletters were at one time a staple of Big Basin’s wine releases and I am looking forward to bringing them back so that I can share with you the stories behind the vineyards, the wines and the people. And no doubt there are some good stories to tell, and perspectives to share that have been hard earned over our 15 vintages.
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