Issue 192 August 2010
2007 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH – 94 points
2007 COASTVIEW VINEYARD SYRAH – 93 points
2007 ODEON SYRAH/CABERNET – 92 points
2008 FAIRVIEW ROAD RANCH SYRAH – 93 points
2008 MANDALA SYRAH – 91 points
2008 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 92 points
2008 WOODRUFF FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 90 points
"I have consistently enjoyed these wines from Big Basin winery. They are big, beautifully balanced and impeccably well made efforts displaying lots of purity. Sadly, production varies from only 70 cases of the Frenchies, to 300+ cases of the Rattlesnake Rock." – Robert Parker
2007 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah: "For drinking over the next decade, the opaque purple-colored 2007 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock is a stunning wine. Aged just over two years in French oak casks, it reveals sweet jus de viande, blackberry, camphor, pepper and forest floor notes. Full-bodied and dense with silky tannins and well-integrated wood, this is a stunning Syrah that should drink nicely for at least a decade."
2007 Coastview Vineyard Syrah: "The 2007 Syrah Coastview, made from a high elevation (2,400 feet) site overlooking Monterey Bay, exhibits a dense purple color as well as a tight but promising nose of blackberries, spring flowers, crushed rocks, licorice and charcoal. Deep and full-bodied with stunning richness, a multilayered mouthfeel, and excellent length, this 2007 can be enjoyed over the next 10 years."
2007 Odeon Syrah/Cabernet: "Big Basin Vineyards has a 2007 Odeon, a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Santa Cruz Mountains. The most powerful wine from an alcoholic standpoint (16%), the wine has a dense ruby/purple color and a spicy, earthy nose with some background wood and red and black fruits. Aromatically it’s the least expressive of any of these reds, but that’s made up for when it hits the palate with a silkiness as well as a rare opulence and fleshy mouthfeel. The finish is long and the texture is terrific. This is a wine that seems to impress more in the mouth than the somewhat restrained aromatics might suggest. Big, rich, and hedonistic, this might be the perfect foil for those looking for the ultimate tactile experience with a big red wine. Drink it over the next decade."
2008 Fairview Road Ranch Syrah: "The 2008 Syrah Fairview Road Ranch is from the Santa Lucia Highlands, an obvious cool-climate site influenced by the fog and strong, cold winds coming off Monterey Bay, which is only five miles away. Sweet vanillin intermixed with creme de cassis, blackberry and spring flowers jump from the glass of this dense purple wine. Full-bodied, rich and multi-dimensional, with loads of fruit, a big, fleshy mouthfeel and a lingering finish, this is a hefty as well as generously endowed Syrah that shows good definition and impressive length. It should drink nicely for up to a decade."
2008 Mandala Syrah: "Lastly, the 2008 Syrah Mandala is a blend of 88% Syrah, 8% Grenache and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. Its opaque ruby/purple color is followed by notes of black currants, blackberries, pen ink and a hint of graphite, a deep, full-bodied mouthfeel and a rich, long finish. As always, these are impressive, well-made, concentrated wines meant to hold up to extended cellaring."
2008 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "Slightly darker ruby than the Woodruff Family, this wine has sweet clove, black cherry, and pomegranate as well as underbrush notes in the complex aromatics. Broad, flavorful, silky-textured, and opulent, this is a slightly fleshier style, but the winemaking skills of proprietor/winemaker Bradley Brown are in evident in both of these Pinots. It should drink nicely for 5-8 years, perhaps longer."
2008 Woodruff Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "From an old Pinot Noir vineyard planted in the late 1980s at a 400-foot elevation, the limited production 2008 Pinot Noir Woodruff Family Vineyard has a medium ruby color and loads of loamy soil notes intermixed with vibrant, bright black cherry, pomegranate, and spice. This soft, plush and already complex wine seems to be on a relatively fast evolutionary track, although Pinot can be surprisingly long-lived due to its balance. This wine has that as well as lots of finesse and complexity. Drink it over the next 5-7 years."