Press


Reviews

 

August 2018


“I was deeply impressed with the wide range of wines I tasted this year from Big Basin and proprietor Bradley Brown, with perhaps one or two exceptions. Specifically, the wines have attained a level of purity and focus that was not always present in the early days. The whole clusters, which are still a significant part of the house style, are much better integrated into the fabric of the wines than was once the case. As a result, the wines are wonderfully detailed and finely sketched to a degree I have not seen in the past.” – Antonio Galloni

2016 VIDA BELLA CHARDONNAY 91 points
2016 COASTVIEW VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 93 points
2016 MONTEREY COUNTY PINOT NOIR 93 points
2016 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 94 points
2016 OLD CORRAL ESTATE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 93 points
2016 COASTVIEW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 93+ points
2015 COAST GRADE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 92 points
2016 LESTER FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 92 points
2016 FERRARI FAMILY VINEYARD (formerly Woodruff) PINOT NOIR 91 points
2016 HOMESTEAD 93 points
2015 GABILAN MOUNTAIN GSM 94 points
2015 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH 93+ points
2016 COASTVIEW VINEYARD SYRAH 91-94 points
2015 ODEON 93 points
2015 ALTITUDE 2292 BORDEAUX BLEND 92 points
2014 OLD CORRAL SYRAH 93 points


2016 VIDA BELLA CHARDONNAY 91 points::
“The 2016 Chardonnay Vida Bella is pretty, open-knit and super-inviting. Apricot, chamomile, lightly honeyed notes and yellow flowers are all pushed forward. A hint of reduction adds nuance without being overpowering, the 2016 is generous and resonant, both qualities that make it a terrific choice for drinking now and over the next few years.”

2016 COASTVIEW VINEYARD CHARDONNAY 93 points::
“The 2016 Chardonnay Coastview Vineyard is a big wine built on phenolics and savoriness rather than on overt fruit. There is a real sense of mountain structure running through the wine. Powerful and ample in feel, with superb freshness, the 2016 offers terrific nuance as well as complexity. I am usually not one to pay a huge amount of attention to numbers, but at 13.7% alcohol, the Coastview is a bit riper than most Chardonnays have been here in the past. And that approach works nicely.”

2016 MONTEREY COUNTY PINOT NOIR 93 points::
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Monterey County is a gorgeous appellation-level wine, not to mention just flat out delicious. A wine of impeccable balance and total class, the 2016 is impossible to resist. A high percentage (85%) of whole clusters adds layers of aromatic nuance without pushing the wine into realm of greenness. Sweet red cherry, tobacco, mint, crushed flowers and mint are some of the many nuances that develop in the glass. Fruit sources are Coastview and Kevin Olson. The Monterey County is bottled after about eleven months in barrel, earlier than the vineyard designates. There is so much personality and character here. In short, don’t miss it!”

2016 ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 94 points::
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard is a shockingly big and ample wine. A stunningly deep, resonant Pinot, the Alfaro has so much to offer. The 100% whole clusters are pretty much buried by the sheer intensity of the dark cherry and plum fruit. Hints of rose petal, mint and lavender develop with air, adding further shades of nuance. All the elements fall into place in this effortless, dramatic Pinot from Big Basin.”

2016 OLD CORRAL ESTATE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 93 points::
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Old Corral Estate Vineyard is the first Pinot from Bradley Brown’s estate vineyard. Bright and lifted, with lovely underpinnings of energy, the 2016 has a lot to offer in its floral and red berry inflections. In this range, the Corral leans towards finesse, understatement and nuance, with a bit less fruit depth than some of the other vineyard designates. Even so, it is quite pretty. The 2016 was done with 100% whole clusters. This parcel was grafted from Syrah in 2015.”

2016 COASTVIEW VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 93+ points::
“A classy, polished wine, the 2016 Pinot Noir Coastview Vineyard is also one of the most reticent Pinots in the range. That won’t be an issue in a few years’ time, but for now readers should plan on being patient. Dried cherry, mint, dried flowers, anise and crushed rose petal are all finely sketched in this beautifully chiseled Pinot Noir from Big Basin.”

2015 COAST GRADE VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 92 points::
“Savory, earthy and spiced notes give the 2015 Pinot Noir Coast Grade Vineyard its distinctive flavor profile. Succulent on the palate, with silky tannins and soft contours, the 2015 has much to recommend it. The 2015 is quite forward and giving, with less whole cluster influence than in the past. I would prefer to drink it sooner rather than later. This is the last vintage for the Coast Grade Pinot at Big Basin.”

2016 LESTER FAMILY VINEYARD PINOT NOIR 92 points::
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard is intensely floral and savory and yet it also has enough fruit to fill out the mid-palate and finish nicely. Crushed rose petal, star anise and orange peel are some of the many nuances that round out this attractive, mid-weight Pinot in the Big Basin range.”

2016 FERRARI FAMILY VINEYARD (formerly Woodruff) PINOT NOIR 91 points::
“The 2016 Pinot Noir Ferrari Family Vineyard is pretty, but also a touch compact at this stage. My impression is that the 2016 still needs to fully assimilate the 100% whole clusters. The tannins are a bit aggressive, while the fruit is not particularly expressive. Ferrari is the vineyard previously known as Woodruff.”

2016 HOMESTEAD 92 points::
“Big Basin’s 2016 Homestead is bold, juicy and super-expressive, with terrific fruit purity and tons textural resonance. Succulent dark cherry, plum, leather, spice and tobacco add layers of nuance throughout. Although not especially complex, the 2016 is super-delicious. Homestead is a blend of Mourvedre, Grenache, Carignane, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon and is Big Basin’s entry-level Rhone red.”

2015 GABILAN MOUNTAIN GSM 94 points::
“The 2015 GSM Gabilan Mountain is dark, powerful and intense. In this vintage, the mourvedre set a generous crop, while the Syrah and Grenache did not. The high percentage of mourvedre yields a wine with stunning aromatic presence and tons of personality. Lavender, rose petal, plum and pomegranate infuse this gorgeous wine. The 2015 is aromatically intense, vivid and utterly compelling.”

2016 COASTVIEW VINEYARD SYRAH 91-94 points::
“The 2016 Syrah Coastview Vineyard is a gorgeous wine. Aromatically intense, the 2016 exudes tremendous fruit intensity. The 2016 was done with 100% whole clusters, foot-tread, in a northern Rhone-inspired style that is becoming all the rage in California these days. There is so much potential here.”

2015 RATTLESNAKE ROCK SYRAH 93+ points::
“The 2015 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock is a very beautiful, polished wine. Silky tannins and a Pinot-like purity to the fruit are among the signatures. Aromatic and quite fresh, the 2015 is simply impeccable. Hints of dark cherry and plum are nicely pushed forward, but the 2015 is a ways off from showing everything it’s got. Even so, it is impressive in the early going.”

2015 ODEON 93 points::
“The 2015 Odeon, Big Basin’s Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend, is another standout and also one of the most distinctive wines in the range. Today, the tannins are a bit imposing, but the there is more than enough depth to the fruit to allow the wine to develop positively in bottle. Dark and potent in the glass, with serious intensity, the 2015 has a lot to offer, once the tannins settle down.”

2015 ALTITUDE 2292 BORDEAUX BLEND 92 points::
“An addition to the range, the 2015 Altitude 2292 is a Bordeaux field blend from the top of Coastview. Dried herbs, smoke, leather and game give the 2015 a somewhat wild feel. Vivid and aromatically intense, the 2015 has a lot to offer. It is another seriously beautiful wine from Big Basin. The blend is 44% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 6% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot, with the Cabernet Franc adding a distinctly exotic quality throughout.”

2014 OLD CORRAL SYRAH 93 points::
“The 2014 Syrah Old Corral is a gorgeous wine. Next to the Rattlesnake, also an estate Syrah, the Old Corral is a bit more aromatic and delicate, in relative terms. The combination of beautifully layered fruit and expressive, savory hints of tobacco, woodsmoke and licorice is hugely appealing. This is the last vintage of the Old Corral Syrah. Following the 2014 harvest, the vineyard was grafted with Pinot Noir.”