The Rhone Report

Issue 14 December 2012

2010 HOMESTEAD GSM – 92 points
2009 OLD CORRAL SYRAH – 93 points
2009 ODEON SYRAH/CABERNET – 92 points

"Located in the Santa Cruz Mountains, Bradley Brown continues to fashion some of the top Syrahs and GSM blends in California. While his wines emphasize fruit and texture, they maintain seamless, elegant profiles, as well as solid backend structure that will allow them to age gracefully. All of these wines were followed for multiple days and benefit substantially from decanting, and time in the glass. They are highly recommended. " – Jeb Dunnuck

2010 Paderewski Vineyard GSM: "A brilliant blend of 49% Grenache, 39% Syrah, and 12% Mourvedre that was aged in 75% new French oak for 19 months, the 2010 Big Basin Vineyards Paderweski Vineyard GSM comes from Bill and Liz Armstrong’s Paderewski Vineyard in Paso Robles. It possesses a pure, clean profile, with copious kirsch, currant, crushed flowers, licorice, and hints of minerality on the nose. Supremely elegant and pure, with a full-bodied, balanced feel on the palate, it has no hard edges, awesome freshness, and a seamless, lengthy finish. A sheer joy to drink now, it will continue to thrill for 7-8 years, possibly longer."

2010 Coastview Vineyard Chardonnay: "Barrel fermented and aged for 19 months in one new and one neutral French oak barrel, the 2010 Big Basin Vineyards Chardonnay Coastview Vineyard (87% Chardonnay, 9% Roussanne, and 4% Viognier) sports a medium-gold color to go with a textbook Chardonnay profile of ripe golden apple, butter crème, mineral, toasted almonds, and a touch of creamed corn. Fleshy, rich, and medium to full-bodied, with gorgeous freshness and a lively spine of acidity, this knockout Chardonnay can be enjoyed now, or cellared for 3-4 years."

2010 Homestead GSM: "More meaty and dense, with a slightly blacker fruit profile of blackberry, roasted meat, licorice, and spice, the 2010 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead (37% Grenache, 36% Syrah, and 27% Mourvedre) is also a full-bodied, rich effort that packs loads of fruit and texture in a beautifully proportion, balanced package. Lacking a touch of seamlessness found in the Paderweski and Grizzly, it is nevertheless a stunning bottle of wine. It benefits from a decant, and will shine for 10-12 years."

2009 Grizzly Grenache/Syrah: "Also seamless and elegant, the 2010 Big Basin Vineyards Grizzly is a blend of 63% Grenache and 37% Syrah that comes from both Monterey and Santa Cruz County. Aged a full 27 months in 50% new French oak, it sports a transparent ruby color to go with knockout aromas of cassis, kirsch, licorice, ground pepper, smoke, and underbrush. Full-bodied, thrillingly textured, seamless, and long, this hedonistic beauty should be consumed over the coming decade."

2009 Coastview Vineyard Syrah: "Also outstanding, with a sweeter, richer profile, the 2009 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Coastview Vineyard is 100% Syrah that spent 27 months in 75% new French oak. Voluptuous, rich, and even decadent, with creamy black raspberry, licorice, smoke, and roasted beef like nuances, it is full-bodied, beautifully textured, fresh, and clean through the finish. It is a no holds barred Syrah that stays fresh and elegant. Enjoy it over the coming 5-8 years."

2009 Old Corral Syrah: "Supple and elegant, the 2009 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Old Corral is a knockout Syrah that does everything right. Harvested at incredibly low yields of 2 tons/acre and aged for 27 months in 66% new French oak, it possesses a semi-transparent ruby color to go with sumptuous aromas of crème de cassis, smoked meat, kirsch, licorice, underbrush, and graphite. Full-bodied and voluptuously textured, with no hard edges, layers of sweet fruit, and a detailed, clean finish that has building tannin, it will be even better in another year or two, and drink superbly for 10-12 years."

2009 Odeon Syrah/Cabernet: "The 2009 Big Basin Vineyards Odeon, a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Cabernet all from the Santa Cruz Mountains, was aged for 27 months in 60% new French oak. Rich and savory, with loads of ripe berry fruit, bouquet garni, smoke, and hints of chocolate, it is full-bodied and shows the seamless, elegant texture that is quickly becoming the hallmark of this estate. Showing ripe, integrated tannin on the finish, yet still approachable and supple, it will continue to impress for upwards of a decade or more."