Saturday, October 16, 2010

Big Basin Tasting Room

At the end of August Big Basin Vineyards opened a new tasting room in Saratoga. Wes and I took a trip out to the winery and called in on the way to see the place and taste the current range.

The tasting room is in a brand new building on Highway 9, next door to Cinnabar - the address is at 14598 Big Basin Way. The room is light and airy, with a large L shaped bar and some comfortable seats. The walls are decorated with photographs of the vineyards taken by the owner and winemaker Bradley Brown and artwork by Matt Jones, whose work is used on several of the wine labels.

Tasting for a flight of 6 wines is $10, refunded with $100 purchase. There is currently a 2 for 1 promotion. You can also purchase wines by the glass; since the tasting room is open until 7PM on Fridays and Saturdays that makes it an ideal place to meet up prior to dinner.

2009 'Aura' Rose of Syrah, Monterey County
Floral nose, with notes of rose hip. While not sweet it doesn't come across as bone dry; it's fruity with a slightly bitter finish and flavours of crisp red apples. Light acidity. $18 89

2007 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains
I've often found the wines from the Alfaro Family vineyard to be rather tannic and unyielding when young, but Bradley's treatment doesn't show that at all. The nose has sweet candy and dried cherry; in the mouth it's richly textured and spicy with flavours of dried cherry and white pepper, and a tart finish. $42 91

2007 Syrah
This is a 50/50 blend of Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey County fruit.
The nose is soft and plummy, the fruit is smooth and light fruit with some tart berry notes and a light finish. $28 88

2006 Rattlesnake Rock Syrah, Santa Cruz Mountains
The flagship estate wine; when I've tasted previous vintages it's been a really big textured wine. This seems lighter than in other years; the nose is fairly restrained with dried currant notes. However it's still pretty big and rich; there are layers of layers of dried fruit, herb and minerals and a longish finish showing those mineral notes again. $54 92

2007 Mandala, Santa Cruz Mountains
This is predominantly estate Syrah, with around 14% Cabernet Sauvignon from a vineyard in Los Gatos blended in. Surprisingly the Cabernet seems more prominent; the nose shows blueberry and pepper, with a balsamic note. On the palate there's blueberry and blackcurrant with oak and tannin showing on the finish. $39 91

2007 Coastview Syrah, Monterey County - Gabilan Mountains
Interesting nose; more assertive than the Rattlesnake Rock with herbal notes, some green pepper and nice black fruit. In the mouth it's another big, richly textured wine; concentrated black fruit flavours with some candied orange peel and meaty notes, leading up to a long finish. Nice smooth tannins; really a delicious wine. $48 93+