Issue 202 August 2012
2010 COASTVIEW VINEYARD CHARDONNAY – 93 points
2010 PADEREWSKI VINEYARD GSM – 95 points
2009 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH – 91 points
2009 OLD CORRAL SYRAH – 92 points
2009 COASTVIEW VINEYARD SYRAH – 91 points
2009 GRIZZLY GRENACHE/SYRAH – 91 points
2009 ODEON SYRAH/CABERNET – 92 points
2009 FRENCHIES RANCH SYRAH – 91-93 points
2010 HOMESTEAD GRENACHE/SYRAH – 90 points
2010 LESTER FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 92 points
2010 COASTVIEW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 92+ points
2010 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 92 points
2010 WOODRUFF FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR – 93 points
"I tasted a bevy of gorgeous wines with proprietor Bradley Brown this year. These new and upcoming releases are impeccable and strongly suggest Brown is one of the up and coming stars of the region. I can hardly wait to see how his wines develop in the future. Most of the 2010 Pinots were harvested during the first week of October, on the late side that year. The wines spent 16 months in French oak, between roughly 40-60% new. The 2009 Syrahs were picked during a broad window that started in early October and lasted much of the month. Brown gave his 2009 Syrahs about 27 months in French oak, from 50-86% new. I also tasted a number of wines from barrel, most of them 2010 Syrahs and Syrah-blends. Today, those wines are very promising, as the cold 2010 vintage seems to have brought out the maximum in varietal definition and nuance." – Antonio Galloni
And, this was said of the Santa Cruz Mountains – "There is no doubt in my mind the Santa Cruz Mountains is the greatest and most overlooked terroir in the United States. Period. Actually, it is probably more accurate to distinguish between the eastern and western part of a mountain range divided by the San Andreas Fault. While quite different in terms of the characteristics, both parts of the mountains are capable of world-class wines. From the famed Bordeaux influenced reds produced at Ridge and other nearby estates to the extraordinary, age worthy Chardonnays and Pinots of Mount Eden, to the younger wineries like Rhys, Varner and Big Basin, there is no doubt in my mind the Santa Cruz Mountains is the single most exciting place to visit in California. No other region offers the same mix of history, innovation and what appears to be virtually unlimited potential. To be sure, these hillside sites are capricious and hard to work with. But they are also capable of producing riveting, emotional, world-class wines." – Antonio Galloni
2010 Coastview Vineyard Chardonnay: "The 2010 Chardonnay is strikingly beautiful. It boasts gorgeous inner perfume and rich fruit in a generous, overt style. Clean saline notes give the wine its energy and sense of proportion. The Chardonnay includes 9% Roussanne and 4% Viognier, making it quite unconventional, but gorgeous all the same. Bradley Brown gave the 2010 nineteen months in French oak barrels. This is a great showing for the Chardonnay in its first vintage. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015."
2010 Paderewski Vineyard GSM: "The 2010 Paderewski Vineyard is strikingly beautiful. A blend of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre, the 2010 impresses for the way it expresses the richness of Paso Robles fruit, but in a more refined, vibrant style than is typical of Paso. The new oak is beautifully balanced here. It is absolutely fascinating and eye opening that this wine tastes nothing like the wines being made in Paso from the very same site. This is a wine of pure finesse and elegance above all else. All of the fruit was picked between October 21 and 29. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020."
2009 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah: "Hints of blackberry, blueberry, violets and tar emerge from the glass in the 2009 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock. This is a relatively soft, juicy Syrah built more on fruit than aromatics or structure. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019. "
2009 Old Corral Syrah: "The 2009 Syrah Old Corral shows depth and mid-palate density, all while expressing the medium-bodied, refined personality typical of the wines in this vintage. Layers of fruit build to the plush, resonant finish. This is the first vintage for the Old Corral. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018. "
2009 Coastview Vineyard Syrah: "All the elements come together beautifully in the 2009 Syrah Coastview Vineyard. The wine envelops the palate with rich blueberries, smoke, incense, sweet herbs and licorice. In 2009, the Coastview stands out for its gorgeous inner perfume and silky, refined personality. A touch of alcohol comes through on the finish. Otherwise, this is a fine showing. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018. "
2009 Grizzly Grenache/Syrah: "The 2009 Grizzly is another impeccable wine. The floral overtones and sweet red berries are pure Grenache while the Syrah adds muscle. There is a depth and roundness in the Grizzly that is immensely pleasing. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017."
2009 Odeon Syrah/Cabernet: "The 2009 Odeon, a Syrah/Cabernet blend, is quite harmonious. Today, the Cabernet seems to have the upper hand in the wine’s balance. Dark red fruit, grilled herbs, flowers and mint flesh out on the finish, supported by firm Cabernet tannins. The 2009 is Cabernet from the House Vineyard in Saratoga and Syrah from Coastview. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2017."
2009 Frenchies Ranch Syrah (barrel sample): "The 2009 Syrah Frenchies’ Ranch boasts serious depth, power and richness, yet also manages to convey a sense of restraint. Layers of fruit caress the palate on the expansive finish. Big Basin fans take note: there will be no 2010 or 2011. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2017."
2010 Homestead Grenache/Syrah: "Big Basin’s 2010 Homestead is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Violets, black cherries, plums, menthol and tar are some of the many notes that develop in the glass. This is a pretty, mid-weight Rhone blend that shows the freshness of the year. I very much like the understated fleshiness here. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015."
2010 Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "The 2010 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard presents a darker tonality of fruit than some of the other Pinots in the lineup. Violets, spices and a hint of licorice develop in the glass, adding further complexity and nuance. Here, too, pretty elements of salinity give the wine an element of tension that works well. Most of this fruit was destemmed. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020."
2010 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir: "Layers of dark red fruit flesh out in the glass in the 2010 Pinot Noir Coastview Vineyard. There is a mid-palate pliancy in the 2010 that is very pretty. The 2010 is a bit of a softer, rounder style than some of the other Pinots in the lineup, but it shows terrific depth from start to finish. The Coastview was made with mostly de-stemmed fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018."
2010 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "The 2010 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard is a gorgeous, precise wine. Sweet red berries, flowers and spices meld together gracefully in the glass. There is a sense of tension and energy in the 2010 that is fabulous, while persistent saline notes frame the finish. The 2010 was made with 30% whole clusters and aged in 50% new oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020."
2010 Woodruff Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "One of the highlights among these new releases, the 2010 Pinot Noir Woodruff Family Vineyard impresses for its subtle, perfumed personality. Sweet red berries, hard candy, flowers and mint come together nicely in the glass. Today the 2010 is a bit reticent, but the energy and minerality make me hopeful for the future. With air, the wine opens up nicely, although it remains very much on the delicate side of things, partly owing to the use of 25% whole clusters. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020."