Jeb Dunnuck: The 2021’s from California’s Central Coast
Jeb Dunnuck | August 2023
The 2021’s from California’s Central Coast
“A cooler, even year that has some similarities to 2019 (particularly with the style of the wines), 2021 is an undeniably great vintage throughout the Central Coast that will be loved by those who prioritize finesse and elegance. The wines shine for their purity of fruit and offer more medium to full-bodied profiles as well as a wonderful sense of freshness while still bringing solid depth, concentration, and structure.”
2019 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 94 points
2019 COASTVIEW VINEYARD “TERRACES” SYRAH 94 points
2019 SIXTY-TWO TERRACES SYRAH (ESTATE) 94 points
2021 WIRZ VINEYARD OLD VINE CARIGNAN 93 points
2020 COASTVIEW VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 93 points
2019 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH (ESTATE) 92+ points
2019 ALTITUDE 2292 BORDEAUX BLEND 92 points
2019 OLD CORRAL PINOT NOIR (ESTATE) 92 points
2021 RODNICK.FARM OLD VINE MOURVEDRE 91+ points
2019 COASTVIEW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 91+ points
2018 GABILAN MOUNTAINS GSM 91 points
2021 DUNE & MOUNTAIN PINOT NOIR 91 points
2019 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR
Another beautiful Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir, the 2019 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard reveals a translucent ruby hue as well as perfumed notes of redcurrant and darker raspberry supported by darker black tea, underbrush, and subtle leather-like nuances. As with the other 2019 Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains, it’s not massive but has a firm underlying sense of structure, beautiful balance, integrated tannins, and a great finish.
2019 COASTVIEW VINEYARD “TERRACES” SYRAH
Ripe black fruits, pepper, leather, and spring flower notes all emerge from the 2019 Syrah Coastview Vineyard Terraces, a hidden gem of a Syrah that has more than a passing resemblance to a great Côte Rôtie. Medium to full-bodied, balanced, with a great mid-palate and ripe tannins, it’s one of the standouts in this lineup. It will unquestionably evolve for 10-15 years.
2019 SIXTY-TWO TERRACES SYRAH
Crozes Hermitage-like notes of juicy blue fruits, violets, bacon fat, and peppered meat all emerge from the 2019 Syrah Sixty-Two Terraces, a beautifully textured, medium-bodied Syrah from the Santa Cruz Mountains with flawlessly integrated tannins and acidity. This is a gorgeous, cool climate-inspired Syrah that brings plenty of depth and concentration. Bravo.
2021 WIRZ VINEYARD OLD VINE CARIGNAN
Spiced red and black fruits, leather, peppery herbs, and violet notes all emerge from the 2021 Carignan Wirz Vineyard, a beautiful old vine Carignan that actually reminds me of some of the top examples of the variety from the south of France. Medium-bodied and balanced, it has fine tannins, nicely integrated acidity, and a great finish. It’s a beautiful example of this variety to drink over the coming decade.
2020 COASTVIEW VINEYARD CHARDONNAY
Ripe golden apples, brioche, lemon curd, toasted almond, and honeyed cream notes all emerge from the 2020 Chardonnay Coastview Vineyard, a richly textured, medium to full-bodied Chardonnay that retains a beautiful sense of freshness and balance. It’s going to shine on the dinner table and should drink well for 2-4 years.
2019 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH
From old vines right around the estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2019 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock reveals a medium ruby/purple hue to go with spicy, meaty notes of red and black fruits, sagebrush, pepper, bacon fat, and leather. This is classic, gamey, incredible Syrah all the way, and it’s medium-bodied, has bright yet integrated acidity, terrific balance, and a great finish. As with all of Bradley’s wines, it’s more about balance and elegance than power.
2019 ALTITUDE 2292 BORDEAUX BLEND
The 2019 Altitude 2292 is a co-fermented field blend of 46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Franc, and the rest Malbec and Petit Verdot. The only Bordeaux variety blend in the lineup, it’s deep purple hue is followed by a medium-bodied, balanced, complex red with notable purity in its red, blue, and black fruits as well as notes of peppery herbs, underbrush, and crushed stone-like minerality. It’s drinking nicely today, particularly with a decant, and it should benefit from 2-3 years of bottle age and evolve gracefully over the following decade.
2019 OLD CORRAL PINOT NOIR
From a site in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the 2019 Pinot Noir Old Corral has a gorgeous nose of ripe strawberry and raspberry fruit that gives way to more underbrush, white flowers, and obvious minerality. It’s not the biggest or richest wine out there, but it has beautiful balance, medium body, nicely integrated tannins, and a great finish.
2021 RODNICK.FARM OLD VINE MOURVEDRE
Leading off the Rhône variety releases, the 2021 Mourvedre Rodnick Farm Vineyard comes from a small vineyard in the Chalone appellation, was not destemmed, and was aged in neutral oak. Ripe cherries, wild strawberries, candied violets, and orange blossom-like notes all define this supple, medium to full-bodied Mourvèdre, which has the variety’s inherent underlying structure, a good sense of freshness, and outstanding length. It will evolve for at least a decade.
2019 COASTVIEW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR
The 2019 Pinot Noir Coastview Vineyard is lively and up-front, with dried strawberry, savory herb, sandalwood, and assorted spicy notes that give way to a medium-bodied, focused, structured Pinot Noir that has plenty of tannins that should integrate nicely with 2-3 years of bottle age.
2018 GABILAN MOUNTAINS
Ripe cherries, gamey strawberries, peppery herbs, and floral, orange tea-like notions all emerge from the 2018 Gabilan Mountains GSM, another medium-bodied, nicely balanced, elegant, and seamless wine that has a youthful vibe and will benefit from 2-3 years in the cellar.
2021 DUNE & MOUNTAIN PINOT NOIR
Ripe cherries, redcurrants, toasted spice, savory herbs, and rose hip notes all emerge from the Pinot Noir Dune And Mountain, a slightly more rounded, broad, supple Pinot from Big Basin that has terrific complexity as well as balance. It’s one of the more up-front Pinot Noirs, yet I still think it should have 7-8 years, if not a decade of longevity.