November 2013

2010 OLD CORRAL SYRAH – 94 points
2009 FRENCHIES’ RANCH SYRAH – 93 points
2010 ODEON SYRAH/CABERNET – 93 points

"Proprietor Bradley Brown crafts some of the most compelling, small-production artisan wines in California’s Central Coast. With each passing year, the wines are more refined and polished, making Big Basin one of the most dynamic up and coming wineries in the state. The 2012s are the most promising young wines I have tasted from Big Basin. Harvests have moved up slightly, the use of whole clusters is up and there is more attention to cooperage, all of which bode well for the future. As always, the approach at Big Basin emphasizes native fermentations and malos with extended macerations and only moderate amounts of new oak." – Antonio Galloni

And, this was said of the Santa Cruz Mountains – "What is the most overlooked terroir in California? It is a question I am asked often. The answer is always the same: The Santa Cruz Mountains. These hillside vineyards just south of San Francisco are home to some of the world’s greatest vineyards and wines. Fabulous, age-worthy Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignon-based reds all flourish on these dramatic hillside sites." – Antonio Galloni

2010 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah: "Dark red cherries, wild flowers, smoke, tobacco and savory herbs are some of the many notes that flesh out in the 2010 Syrah Rattlesnake Rock. Here the fruit is quite a bit redder in tonality than in the other 2010 Big Basin Syrahs because of the presence of 11% Grenache in the blend. Wild and constantly changing in the glass, the Rattlesnake Rock is bursting with complexity, nuance and pedigree. Bright floral and savory notes punctuate the finish. I can’t wait to taste the Rattlesnake with a little more bottle age."

2010 Old Corral Syrah: "The 2010 Syrah Old Corral is quite a bit darker than the Coastview. Tobacco, new leather, earthiness, black cherries and smoke all give the Old Corral a sense of gravitas that is compelling. The 2010 is powerful and structured, and will benefit from another year or two in bottle. There is plenty to look forward to. The 2010 spent 27 months in French oak."

2009 Frenchies’ Ranch Syrah: "Big Basin’s 2009 Syrah Frenchie’s Ranch, a selection of the best three barrels, spent 37 months in the cellar. Texturally silky and polished, the Frenchies covers the palate with the same intensity of a chef’s reduction sauce. The 2009 is soft and voluptuous to the core, with no hard edges and plenty of soft contours. Smoke, tobacco, leather and plums are some of the nuances that linger on the finish. Above all else, the Frenchie’s is a wine of pure texture. "

2010 Coastview Vineyard Syrah: "Plums, black cherries, smoke, tobacco and tar are some of the many notes that inform the 2010 Syrah Coastview Vineyard. A juicy, pliant Syrah, the 2010 Coastview is showing beautifully today. There is plenty of early and medium-term appeal in this elegant and impeccably balanced Syrah. I especially like the sense of immediacy here. The 2010 spent 27 months in French oak."

2010 Odeon Syrah/Cabernet: "The 2010 Odeon is another wine that is striking today. Tobacco, grilled herbs, smoke, plum and graphite notes are layered beautifully in this unusual Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon blend. The Syrah lends intensity to the fruit, while the Cabernet seems to add varietal aromatics as well as supporting structure, a combination that is quite appealing. This is another drop-dead gorgeous wine."

2011 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "Big Basin’s 2011 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard is a bit less aromatic than the Woodruff, but more pliant and expressive on the palate. Here it is the wine’s focus that impresses most of all. Small red berries, cherries, mint and tobacco meld together gracefully as the wine opens up. Here the whole clusters are a little bit better balanced than in the Woodruff. There is a lot to look forward to."

2011 Woodruff Family Vineyard Pinot Noir: "The 2011 Pinot Noir Woodruff Family Vineyard is beautifully lifted and savory in the glass. Crushed flowers, savory herbs, wild flowers and dried cherries meld together in a soft, floral Pinot to drink over the next handful of years. Ideally the 2011 needs to be opened at least a few hours in advance to allow all of the elements, especially the whole clusters, to come together."