Every Thursday I feature a wine I particularly enjoy, whether it’s something new and different, is a great value, or from a producer worth checking out. For this week, my Wine Of The Week is the 2011 Big Basin Vineyards Homestead.
Big Basin Vineyards is a family owned and operated winery. Founder Bradley Brown is Winemaker and Proprietor (and Vineyard Manager), while his sister Wendy Brown is co-owner and provides business management expertise. The winery was founded in 1998 on a historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park.
The estate vineyards include Rattlesnake Rock (planted to Syrah), Old Corral Block (planted to Syrah in 2006) and the Homestead Block (planted in 2007 to Grenache, Roussanne and Syrah). They also source from other vineyards, like Monterey County’s Coastview.
Big Basin produces Rhone Reds, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Roussanne, and a Rosé.
It’s been a couple of years since I visited , so my wife and I decided to drop in the Saratoga tasting room last weekend. Big Basin also does tasting by appointment only at their estate vineyard and winery. I’m definitely going to have to check that out!
As we tasted through the lineup of wines, it reminded me of a situation where you catch up with an old friend after it’s been too long, you have a great time, and you wonder why you waited so long to catch up. The wines are sensational and we like downtown Saratoga where the tasting room is located. I highly recommend visiting and/or acquiring the wines!
Homestead is a Rhone varietal blend that incorporates fruit from Santa Cruz & Gabilan Mountain vineyard sites. Big Basin makes this “kitchen sink” blend annually, and it changes from year to year. For example, by contrast the 2010 vintage was a blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. It’s a wine that is approachable now, but will also age well.
From Big Basin – Our 2011 Homestead is a blend of 48% Mourvedre, 24% Carignane, 18% Zinfandel, 7% Syrah and 3% Grenache. Nearly all of the fruit is sourced from vineyards in the Gabilan Mountains. The first fruit was picked on October 15, with the last coming in October 31. The Mourvedre is from a 25 year old vineyard in the Chalone appellation planted in mostly calcareous shale with some decomposed granite. There is an additional barrel of Mourvedre from 108 year old vines in the Cienega Valley. Both the Carignane and Zinfandel are from an 80 year old vineyard in the Cienega Valley right below Mt. Harlan at 1000 ft elevation in decomposed granite and limestone soils. This wine receives every bit as much attention as our top cuvées and is fermented on native yeasts in the same 1+ ton fermenters and then aged for 18 months in neutral French oak barrels.
420 cases produced; 14% alcohol; SRP-$36
My tasting notes follow:
Violet color with alluring bacon fat, mixed berry, spice, and a hint of floral aromas. On the palate, it’s medium bodied, persistent and fresh with a supple mouth feel. It shows blueberry,dark red cherry, raspberry, and spice flavors. Medium Long finish
Rating: A-; Offers very good complexity and value. And is damn tasty!
Pair with: Paella, grilled meats, tagine, and hearty stews.
Sample purchased for review
(A) – 94-97/Outstanding
(A-) – 90-93/Excellent
(B+) – 86-89/Very good
(B) – 80-85/Good
(C) – 70-79/Bleh
(D) – 50-69/#Fail
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