Issue 196 August 2011
2008 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH – 91 points
2008 COASTVIEW VINEYARD SYRAH – 92 points
2008 ODEON SYRAH/CABERNET – 93 points
2008 FRENCHIES RANCH SYRAH – 91 points
2009 HOMESTEAD GRENACHE/SYRAH – 91 points
2009 LESTER FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 92 points
2009 COASTVIEW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 92 points
2009 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 93 points
2009 WOODRUFF FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 94 points
"Bradley Brown crafts gorgeous artisan wines from his vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey County. The wines are fermented with ambient yeasts, see no racking and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Pinots are aged in 50% new medium toast barrels, while some of the Syrah and Syrah-based blends see higher amounts of new wood. Brown is gradually moving towards reducing toast levels and amounts of new oak. The 2008s are big, rich wines marked by the low yields of the year that are the result of the spring frost. Vintage 2009 was a flashier, more overt year until a heavy rainstorm hit on October 13. The 2009s generally are lower in alcohol than the 2008s. As good as these wines are – and they are often outstanding – my feeling is that Brown has just scratched the surface of his potential." – Antonio Galloni
2008 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah: "The 2008 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock was made from a parcel planted predominantly with an Alban Cote-Rotie clone, and includes 7% Grenache in this vintage. The late harvest and low yields of the vintage comes across in this big, powerful wine. This is a decidedly lush, super-ripe style. The aromatics appear later, adding complexity and nuance on the mid-palate and finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018."
2008 Coastview Vineyard Syrah: "The 2008 Syrah Coastview Vineyard is a plump, juicy wine loaded with dark black and blue fruit. Tar, licorice and violets develop in the glass, leading to a ripe, seductive finish. Brown chose eight of his best barrels from this hillside vineyard for the final blend. The wine was aged for 27 months in 62% new oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018."
2008 Odeon Syrah/Cabernet: "The 2008 Odeon a blend of 57% Syrah and 43% Cabernet Sauvignon comes across as quite a bit fresher and better balanced than the Grizzly. Sweet herbs, creme de cassis, flowers and spices flow from this opulent, beautifully balanced wine. The presence of the late-ripening Cabernet helped preserve quite a bit of freshness. A final blast of blueberries and blackberries informs the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018."
2008 Frenchies Ranch Syrah: "The 2008 Syrah Frenchies’ Ranch is 100% Syrah that spent 27 months in 100% new oak barrels. Frenchies’ is essentially the three best Syrah barrels from Rattlesnake Rock. It shows gorgeous aromatic delineation and layers of sumptuous fruit, with attractive mid-palate pliancy and a multi-dimensional, textured finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020."
2009 Homestead Grenache/Syrah: "The 2009 Homestead is 46% Grenache, 43% Syrah and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, mostly sourced from estate vineyards. This attractive red wine fleshes out nicely in the glass, with compelling dark fruit, sweet spices and flowers. Floral notes reappear on the finish adding brightness and lift. The Homestead is an attractive, fruit-forward offering best enjoyed over the next few years. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2016."
2009 Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "The 2009 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard shows some of the meatier, gamier elements of Pinot Noir. There is plenty of depth in the fruit to balance some of the wine’s wilder tendencies. The round, sweet finish is nicely layered with expressive floral and spiced notes. The Lester Family Vineyard Pinot is a blend of Clones 37, 667, 115, vinified with 15% stems and aged for 16 months in French oak barrels, 50% new. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019."
2009 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir: "The 2009 Pinot Noir Coastview Vineyard sweeps across the palate with layers of plump, dark fruit. It is an expansive Pinot loaded with personality and class. The Coastview Pinot shows gorgeous textural depth all the way through to the juicy finish. This is the first vintage from a plot originally planted with Syrah. The 2009 was fermented with 30% whole clusters and aged for 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019."
2009 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "The 2009 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard shows gorgeous up-front richness, much of which comes from the Dijon clones. Dark cherries, flowers menthol, licorice and violets come together nicely in this juicy, ripe Pinot. The 2009 was fermented with 10% whole clusters and aged for 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019."
2009 Woodruff Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "The 2009 Pinot Noir Woodruff Family Vineyard is a subtle, nuanced wine graced with exquisite aromatics, sweet tobacco, red cherries and dried flowers. It possesses gorgeous length supported by clean, mineral notes. I especially like the balance of the wine’s inner perfume, sweetness and persistent saline notes. This elegant, understated Pinot is impressive. The 2009 was fermented with 30% whole clusters and aged for 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019."