The Rhone Report

Issue 10 Nov/Dec 2011

2008 FRENCHIES RANCH SYRAH – 94 points
2008 ODEON SYRAH/CABERNET – 94 points
2009 HOMESTEAD SYRAH – 91 points

"Located at the top of the Santa Cruz Mountains, these serious wines are made by Bradley Brown and show thrilling levels of fruit and structure. While certainly not shy, they stay balanced and fresh on the palate, and display beautiful purity of fruit. All of the wines benefited from substantial air time and in most cases showed even better on the second day after opening." – Jeb Dunnuck

2008 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah: "One of the more supple vintages for this cuvée, the 2008 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah is a blend of 94% Syrah and 6% Grenache, form incredibly low yields, that’s aged in 83% new French oak for 27 months. Yielding a decadent and very rich array of black fruits, charred beef, earth, and smoke, this still manages to hold onto a sense of freshness and lift on the nose. These characteristics carry over to the palate where the wine is full-bodied and beautifully balanced, showing seamless, light texture, gorgeous purity of fruit, and a very long finish. As with the majority of Bradley’s ’08s, this is approachable with a decant, but should benefit from 1-2 years in the cellar. Given the overall balance and freshness, this should have upwards of 12-15 years of longevity."

2008 Coastview Vineyard Syrah: "A beautiful Syrah that features loads of upfront, slightly gamy blackberry like fruits, spice, crushed rock, graphite, bitter chocolate, and pepper aromatics, the 2008 Coastview Vineyard Syrah spent 27 months in 63% new French oak barrels and is rich, full-bodied, and beautifully textured on the palate. While this is no lightweight and has loads of ripeness and richness, it maintains a light, graceful feel in the mouth, showing admirable freshness and a clean, focused finish. It benefits from a decant and should shine for a decade."

2008 Frenchies Ranch Syrah: "Showing more toast and oak than the Rattlesnake Rock, the 2008 Frenchies Ranch Syrah comes from the same vineyard, but is a cellar selection of the top 3 Syrah barrels. Aged for 27 mohths in all new French oak, this stacked Syrah delivers a thirlling bouquet with deep, rich blackberry and creme de cassis styled fruits, coffee, toasty oak, grilled meats, licorice, and solid underlying minerality. This fleshes out beautifully with air and on the palate, shows a full-bodied, concentrated mouthfeel, impeccable balance, and a seamless, silky texture that carries into the finish. While certainly a big wine that shows its oak elevage currently, it’s nevertheless and impressive drink currently with a healthy decan; ideally though, bottles should be given 2-4 years in the cellar, and then consumed over the following decade."

2008 Odeon Syrah/Cabernet: "Very rich and decadent with thrilling amounts of creme de cassis, charred meats, mineral, pencil lead, chocolate, and game, the 2008 Odeon opens up in the glass to show a full-bodied, concentrated profile, beautiful freshness and acidity, and a chewy, structured finish. This spent 27 months in 87% new French oak and while it definitely shows hints of oak elevage, it stay remarkably pure and light on its feet. While I’m not convinced it has the backend structure for extended aging, I see no reason this won’t continue to shine for 5-8 years, if not longer."

2009 Homestead Syrah: "Sporting aromas of blackberry and raspberry, toasted spice, graphite, and crushed flowers, this full-bodied, rich blend shows loads of richness and depth, yet remains light and balanced on the palate. Very fresh with a light palate presence, juicy acidity and a clean, long finish, this beauty should continue to shine for 5-6 years or so."