2016 Big Basin Vineyards, Pinot Noir, Lester Family Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains.
Bradley Brown’s whole cluster, thrilling no holds barred, Lester Family Vineyard Pinot is a wine that is just coming into it’s own with an amazing array of flavors, it’s got an edgy (stems) nature and a complex palate of fruit and savory elements that hits all the right notes. The Lester Vineyard, in the Corralitos foothills, very close to the Alfaro Family Vineyards, of the southwestern tip of the Santa Cruz Mountains and just a few miles from the deep waters and abundant fog of Monterey Bay is set on soils that are sandy loam over sedimentary base rock, it’s a site perfect for exciting Pinot. Local vine guru, Prudy Foxx, who looks after many of the finest vineyard plots in the region was original planter of the Lester Family Vineyard and one of area’s best viticulture consultants making this a great spot to get grapes, and Big Basin does so with awesome effect, especially with this gorgeous 2016 vintage. Made most from heritage clone (Mount Eden) and a touch of 667 the 13.3% natural alcohol 2016 Lester was made using native yeasts and got a long cold soak with hand only punch downs using 100% whole cluster and full stem inclusion, all done in what Brown calls an old world or traditional style, and it saw just about 25% new wood in which it was raised for 18 months.
Big Basin, known mostly for their signature estate grown Rattlesnake Rock Alban Clone Syrah and other Rhone style offerings, should not get overlooked for their Chardonnay and Pinots, in particular the Coastview, Alfaro and this Lester version, these are glorious wines that are impressive in every way. This beautiful ruby red 2016 Lester, which takes its time to open up is loaded with energy, sharp detail and has gripping personality with layers of black cherry, plum, pomegranate and racy strawberry fruits with briar spiciness, a slightly herbal element and heady rose petal perfume starts the grand performance adding a hint of mint tea, smoke, cinnamon and a soft kiss of the French oak as well as having a nice burst of acidity and a subtle mineral charm, all of which makes this a very special Pinot. The mouth feel is still a bit rustic and there is an earthy quality in the background, which I am seduced by, but it should also gain in texture and smooth out further over the coming 2 or 3 years and drink well for the next decade.
($55 Est.) 95 Points, grapelive