Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 21, 2020

2018 La Fortuna, Rosso di Montalcino DOC, Tuscany, Italy.
The 2010 La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino is ripe, textured and silky smooth with pure Sangiovese character, it goes wonderfully with simple cuisine and shows a good cut of freshness for easy youthful drinking pleasure. The 2018 vintage is less serious than 2016 in the Montalcino area, but still offers plenty of flavor and value to savvy Tuscan fans and the Rosso di Montalcino “Baby Brunello” offerings are going to be fun and there will be plenty of bargains to be found, like this La Fortuna with its polished and elegant styling. Fresh out the box the La Fortuna is smoothly rich with vine picked tangy blackberry, wild plum, cranberry, strawberry and tart cherry fruits along with blood orange, tobacco leaf, porporri florals, rosemary, lavender and spiced cedar notes. A richer form comes out with air and food making it a medium to full bodied Sangiovese that has a lot f charm, especially for the price.

This 100% Sangiovese Grosso (Brunello clone) was crafted with traditional care and made for early drinking with grapes coming from vineyard parcels that range from 15 to 25 years on the semi volcanic soils of the region and was fermented in temperature controlled tanks with about a 20 day maceration on the skins to give it that dark burgundy hue in the glass. After fermentation this La Fortuna Rosso di Montalcino is racked mostly to large Slovenian oak casks for six months and aged a further six months in mainly 1 and 2 times filled small French barriques, which explains the luxurious velvety mouth feel, before bottling. This estate goes back a long way with the Zannoni first arriving at “La Fortuna” back in 1907 to work the farmstead and through the generations rose up to finally purchase the property and become a private winery and label with fifth generation Gioberto Zannoni now in charge at this highly regarded Brunello label. I suggest buying the 2013 and 2016 if you can still find them, but don’t over look these tasty and graceful 2018s either.
($25 Est.) 91 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 20, 2020

2013 Massolino, Barolo DOCG, Piedmonte, Italy.
Tucked between the legendary and tight 2010 and the exceptional 2016 vintages, these 2013s are not getting the credit they deserve and are proving to be absolutely delicious Barolo and outstanding drinkers, especially wines like this basic Massolino Barolo, which is quite impressive and opening up nicely with classic Nebbiolo highlights and depth of flavors. The deep crimson/garnet and brick 2013 Massolino starts with earth, game and seeped rose petals with brambly fruits that include plum, cherry, raspberry and mulberry on framed by structural tannin and a cut of natural acidity, though there is a hedonistic sense of ripe lushness and the palate expands warmly and with full bodied richness. There is a back ground of wild herbs, mineral and leather, it lingers with kirsch, anise and chalky stones. This wine is made using traditional Barolo methods with fermentation and maceration lasting about 15 days at warm temperatures and it is aged 30 months in large oak cask, plus as the winery notes, bottles are left to mature in a special dark, cool cellar for just over a year before release.

The history of the estate is very extensive and the Massolino family and their wines have became legends within the region, they are based in the commune of Serralunga d’Alba and have been since 1896, when Giovanni Massolino founded the estate. He was noted for being enterprising, tenacious, and creative, interestingly it was Giovanni that first brought electricity to the village. Giovanni’s son, Giuseppe, built the original Massolino cellar, expanded their holdings to include some of the areas best terroir and in 1934 founded the Consortium for the Defence of Barolo and Barbaresco, passionately dedicated to quality. More recently, in the 1990s, Franco and Roberto Massolino, both oenologists, joined the family estate and brought even greater fame with a series of spectacular Barolo from the cru Vigna Rionda and have continued that level ever since. While mainly a Barolo estate Massolino also, like La Spinetta do fabulous Barbera and a fine semi sweet Moscato d’Asti that is a lovely treat. This 2013 Barolo will go another 15 to 20 years easy, but can be really enjoyed now, in particular with rustic and robust cuisine, it also represents a nice value, as you can find it in the States under 50 dollars.
($48 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 19, 2020

2019 Jolie-Laide Wines, Trousseau/Poulsard/Gamay/Valdiguie, California.
Jolie-Laide Wines and winemaker Scott Schultz, who has been an assistant winemaker at Pax Wines, is now a fully established star in California and his wines are part of the new generation’s re-inventing of the state’s wine and his latest set of limited production efforts are wonderful drinking wines, with some being absolutely outstanding, like his Halcon Vineyard Syrah, the solo Gamay Noir, his Shake Ridge GSM, and this lighter quaffable bright glow-glow style red. This unique fresh and low alcohol red blend, inspired by the Alpine French region of the Jura, but with a California twist was fermented partially carbonic for brightness and all whole cluster adding to the complex spice aromas and bright fruits which Scott Schultz made from Trousseau, Poulsard, Gamay and old vine Valdiguie reminds me of Julien Labet’s Jura “Metis” a blend of Trousseau, Poulsard and Pinot Noir, one of my favorites of the region or Ganevat’s Côtes du Jura “Julien en Billat—L’Enfant Terrible du Sud”. Likely, according to Schultz, this is most “Outré Vin” or unique in the lineup at Jolie-Laide, and what he calls a vinous Californian pastiche inspired by his reverence of the wines of the French Alps, both in the Jura and Savoie regions. Just a tiny amount of these varieties are planted in California, as Schultz notes, but Jolie-Laide is hoping to be a part of the movement that will shift that paradigm and bring these grapes into the fold and embraced by more growers and wines like this make a compelling case. A few years back I had Scott’s version of Halcon Syrah and I became hooked on his wines such was the soulful rendition in the glass and this Trousseau, Poulsard, Gamay and Valdiguie 2019 is another tasty treat.

The Jolie-Laide Trousseau, Poulsard, Gamay and Valdiguie was aged only about 6 months in well season barrels this wine was bottled early to capture its freshness and purity with almost no sulfur added, making for what the French and natural wine enthusiasts call, as mentioned, a Glou-Glou wine or as we might say, it’s an easy quaffer with a certain tangy/zesty quality. This is delightful stuff with spicy raspberry, sour cherry, wild plum and cranberry fruits and mineral crunchiness as well as delicate floral tones, anise and snappy herbs in a light to medium bodied wine that benefits from a slight chill, much like the wines that inspired it. Schultz has created a gem here, at only 12.3% natural alcohol it still has pleasing ripe flavors to go with the vibrant acidity, it will be a fun Summer red to enjoy in its youth. The new wave of country style, less oaky wines is here to stay and have carved out a serious niche with California producers like Jolie-Laide leading the way, along with the likes of Martha Stoumen, Jaimee Motley, Ryme Cellars, Sheldon Wines, Ian Brand, Dirty & Rowdy, Arnot-Roberts, the first winery to put California Trousseau on the map, and others. Schultz, a Chicago native, moved to California in 2007 and worked for Thomas Keller, running the wine program at Keller’s Bouchon Bistro in Yountville before moving on to winemaking joining Arnot-Roberts, after which a stint at Ryme Cellars then on to Pax Wines under Pax Mahle. All the while Schulz became focused on natural and transparent style wines influenced by old world regions, but exploiting the wealth of the California climate and soils. Be sure to check out the latest Joile-Laide offerings, they are sure to impress, like this one does.
($30 Est.) 90 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 18, 2020

2015 Lasseter Family Wines “Voila” Semillon/Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Valley.
The 2015 Lasseter Voila is a rich and vinous white Bordeaux style blend coming mainly from old vines in Sonoma and has loads of concentration with layers of lemon curd, peach and pineapple along with vanilla bean, quinces and leesy brioche adding a hint of wet stone and honeysuckle in a full bodied luxurious wine that flamboyantly caresses the palate. This is a rather lush wine that will surely get your attention and certainly make an impact on the sense, it will need soft cheeses and or a meal to get the best out of it, the creamy brie style will really bring out the best here or go with decedent crab cakes. Lasseter, known mostly for estate grown Rhone style wines with vines near Glen Ellen is also doing some interesting Bordeaux influenced wines with some Moon Mountain grapes being added to the lineup. I was impressed by the lineup at Lasseter the last time I ran through the wines and this one, which might get lost amongst the reds, was maybe my favorite and it gets better and better as it opens in the glass and its golden color shines intensely, it really is an appealing effort.

With the ancient vine Semillon, which makes up 50% of this tasty wine, coming off the famed Monte Rosso Vineyard, that was planted in the late 1800s on the higher hillsides that face west, that allows a cooling effect and this volcanic red soiled site allows for deep flavor development and ripeness. The combination of 30% regular Sauvignon Blanc as well as the aromatic 20% Musque Clone adds a zesty, tanginess and juicy lemon/lime quality here, that fruit comes from the Sonoma Valley floor. This Voila is modeled loosely on Haut-Brion Blanc, in Graves/Pessac Leognan region and like Haut-Brion Blanc it has an opulent flavors, mouth feel and loads of creamy texture. The wine was aged in both new French oak and cement egg giving it its lavish profile and presence. In California this style wine is a rarity, and Lasseter has done a very convincing job on this one and it compares well with some elite offerings like Peter Michael, Luc Morlet Family and Shared Notes by Jeff Pisoni and his wife Bibiana González Rave Pisoni. Lasseter has proven to be a serious winery, not just a vanity project by John Lasseter the founder of Pixar, and you should not over look their stuff, it gets better and better each year.
($42 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 17, 2020

2018 Sandlands Vineyards, Cinsault, Lodi California.
The Sandlands label is the highly acclaimed personal project of Tegan and Olivia Passalacqua, with wines that pay tribute to, as they put it, the forgotten classic California varieties, primarily grown in decomposed granite (sand), from regions and vineyards that have been farmed for many generations but have remained the outliers of California viticulture. You may know Tegan’s work with Turley Wine Cellars, when he is the head winemaker and vineyard manager, overseeing many historic old vine vineyards, including the Bechtold Vineyard in Lodi where this old vine Cinsualt comes from. Passalacqua’s Cinsault has a fresh and crisp nature, it shows a bright cherry, plum, strawberry and spiced raspberry fruit core as well as smooth tannin, zesty acids, minty herb and a mineral tone, adding a touch of florals, earth and a hint of bramble with air, making for a delightful and supple low alcohol red. This wine shows that winemaking in California can even in hot climates produce detailed and elegant wines, especially when hand crafted by a passionate vigneron that knows every inch and nuance of the vines. Passalacqua who is a state treasure, with an overwhelming knowledge of varietals and California wine history, works primarily head-trained, dry-farmed and own rooted vines, noted that the vineyards he partners with harken back to California’s roots of exploration, wonder, and hard work. Passalacqua, who obviously is talented with Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, is wonderfully gifted with many grapes including this Cinsault, as well as Chenin Blanc, Mataro (Mourvedre), the Mission grape and Carignane, any of which under the Sandlands label should be sought out.

The Sandlands 2018 Lodi Cinsault, a small lot offering with only eight barrels produced was made from grapes sourced from vines originally planted in 1886, as Tegan adds, in the heart of Western Lodi by Joseph Spenker and farmed for decades by Al Bechthold. The Bechthold Vineyard is a legendary site and Cinsault, a grape that is part of the Rhone family and one of the Chateauneuf du Pape collection is known for handling heat and lack of water, while still providing acidity and delicacy of flavors. Cinsault is also the secret sauce of many fine Rosé wines, including lots in the Provence region and in the famed Bandol AOC. This varietal is gaining popularity in California as well as being a huge star in South Africa, like in the wines by Baadenhorst, a country its also been in since the 1800s. Tegan Passalacqua, who is a Napa Valley native, has worked in the cellars of Craggy Range in New Zealand with Doug Wisor, with Eben Sadie in the Swartland of South Africa, who also makes an incredible Cinsault, and with Alain and Maxime Graillot in the Northern Rhone Valley of France. For the past eleven years, as mentioned, he has worked for Turley Wine Cellars, working his way up from harvest intern to winemaker/vineyard Manager. I highly recommend getting on Tegan’s Sandlands Vineyards mailing list as his wines usually sell out within minutes of being put on offer. Be sure to keep an eye out for this lovely Cinsault, which in 2018 came in at just 12.3% natural alcohol, it goes get with simple cuisine and can be served with a slight chill for outdoor enjoyment. This wine gets better and better as it opens in the glass, its pretty ruby hue and smooth textured flavors are almost Pinot like and it is very sad when the bottle empties!
($26 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 16, 2020

N.V. H. Billiot Fils, Rosé Brut Grand Cru Champagne, Ambonnay, France.
The Billiot Rosé Brut Champagne is a long time favorite grower fizz of mine and I always have happy memories coming back to me when I taste this small producer based in Montagne de Reims. With its Grand Cru sites in Ambonnay, Billiot, now run by Laetitia Billiot who is the fourth generation tho run this estate, makes a superb collection of hand crafted Champagnes, like this delicious Brut Rosé that shows fine finesse, elegance, fresh detail and a wonderfully vinous depth. Billiot farms 18 small parcels in the Ambonnay Grand Cru area with almost all being in prime hillside plots which heighten the quality and complexity in these beautiful sparkling wines. The Billiot Brut Rosé Grand Cru pleases from the start with a delightful and vivid pink magenta hue and an ultra caressing and creamy mouse which leads to a concentrated palate of black cherry, zesty citrus, red apples and brioche along with mineral notes, a touch of rose petals and nuttiness.

The latest disgorgement was 80% Pinot Noir and 20% Chardonnay, as per normal for this bottling and the final assemblage included 50% 2015, 25% 2014, 25% 2013 plus 10% Pinot Noir still wine from the 2015 vintage for color. The Billiot wines are almost all tank raised, only one cuvee sees barrel fermentation, and this Brut Rosé saw a en triage aging of 36 months in enameled vats with the 2015 still wine Pinot seeing used French barrique. The wines are pressed in traditional vertical basket presses in small lots and wines always show nuanced personalities, even the multi vintage blends are each unique and have a structured feel while still being remarkably graceful and luxurious, like this one shows. This Champagne can be a special occasion bubbly, but it really shines with cuisine and a meal, adding a sense of celebration and romance to any evening.
($60 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 15, 2020

2018 Desire Lines Wine Co., Riesling, Cole Ranch Vineyard and AVA, Mendocino County.
I would be amiss if after reviewing all of the latest Desire Lines Wine Co. wines without saying how good their dry Riesling was, as this 2018 Cole Ranch is really a beautiful California version of this grape, it is one a growing number of quality examples in the state joining long time legend Stony Hill, including Reeve, Joyce, Morgan, Cobb, Stirm, Union-Sacre and of course Tatomer, one of the first to lead this new wave of dry Riesling. Cody Rasmussen’s Desire Lines Wine Co. Cole Ranch Riesling while modeled after Germany’s Grosses Gewachs or GG’s has for me a quality and style that reminds me of some of the great Aussie versions like Pike’s, Grosset’s Polish Hill, Rolf Binder, Henschke, Pewsey Vale and Jim Barry’s Claire Valley expressions. The 2018 is bright, intense and wildly enjoyable, Riesling fans with love this stuff with its vivid acidity and riveting layers of white peach, racy lime, green melon, papaya/mango fruits with a zesty pop of verbena, lemon oil and orange blossoms, plus wild fennel, wet stones, brisk steeliness and dried ginger spiciness. The Cole Ranch, planted back in 1973, is both a single vineyard site and its own AVA in Mendocino County, it is a true Monopole, located in a narrow valley between Boonville and Ukiah that offers a cool climate terroir and like Potter Valley makes for good Riesling country. Rasmussen notes that Cole Ranch has soils warm up late in the spring, it also tends to stay well shaded by the sharp mountain ridges above, and temperatures plummet at night as cool air flows downhill into the vineyard preserving fresh detail and crystalline purity in the wine, especially true in this vintage.

The 2018 Cole Ranch Riesling, sourced from garly head drained and dry farmed old vines was whole-cluster pressed to tank, where the juice was cold settled for 48 hours, which is very important to clear green/bitter phenolics out before it was gently racked to neutral wood barrels for natural fermentation, very similar to how the German GG’s are crafted. Rasmussen, who has made a few vintages from this site, says the Cole Ranch Riesling has always been super slow ferment, making for an extra wait and he explains that 2018 proved to be no different as his Riesling didn’t finish primary fermentation until late January. It is very exciting times for California, with an incredible new generation of winemakers and labels to follow, like Desire Lines Wine Co. and winemaker Cody Rasmussen, who as assistant winemaker at Bedrock Wine Co. under Morgan Twain-Peterson MW has finely honed his talents and gained an amazing understanding of vineyards and California history which he has applied to his own wines. His latest set of wines are compelling and soulful collection of goodies with an outstanding couple of Syrah(s) with Shake Ridge Vineyard and Griffin’s Lair bottlings that are two distinct and terroir driven marvels. Beyond his stellar Syrah offerings, I am impressed with his Mourvedre and Carignan based reds as well as this delightful and well crafted dry Riesling, this is a micro winery that is well worth checking out and I highly recommend joining the mailing list, these are some of best values you’ll find. This Cole Ranch dry Riesling has tons of personality and is fabulous as a Summer sipper, but has the extract and substance to companion serious cuisine, enjoy it with everything from oysters, grilled shrimp and Asian dishes to honey roasted ham or fresh cut sushi.
($22 Est.) 93 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 14, 2020

2018 Ridge Vineyards, Mancini Ranch, Carignane and Zinfandel, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County.
The Ridge 2018 Mancini Ranch is an old vine field blend which is primarily Carignane 80% and with lesser dose of Zinfandel 20% making for beautiful and slightly lighter style wine with loads of fresh detail and with a more cool climate character than the Dry Creek and or Alexander Valley bottlings. Still ripe, dark and delicious this Mancini Ranch that is labeled 13.1% natural alcohol highlights Carignane’s bright elements and black fruit personality, but even with only 20% the Zinfandel really shines through with loads of raspberry, delicate cinnamon spice and cedar leading on the palate adding blackberry, plum and currant fruits as well as anise and sage notes. This is so delicious I couldn’t help but have an extra glass of this Mancini Ranch with pizza, I am already thinking of getting more bottles while it is still available! If you are a fan of Ridge’s wines you will love this and it will cheer your friends mood at BBQs and Summer dinner parties with simple cuisine, this vintage has a certain charm that is impossible to resist.

Carignan or Carignane is a grape mostly found in the south of France with serious plantings in the Languedoc’s Corbieres as well as being one of Rhone grapes found in Chateauneuf du Pape as well as being a minor player in Gigondas too, along with have a home in Spain from the Priorat to Rioja, plus the Italian island of Sardinia. It has been in new world a long time, probably longer than most other noble French varietals and Zinfandel, Carignane grows well here in Sonoma County, especially in Dry Creek, Alexander Valley and in this case the Russian River, as well as Mendocino where most solo efforts seem to come from, as well as seeing a newer set of planting in Paso Robles, thanks to selected clones being brought over by Tablas Creek and the Perrin family of Chateau de Beaucastel. Ridge has of course a fabulous selection of Zinfandel based wines from which to chose, including my favorites like Lytton Springs and Geyserville, but you should venture into their Rhone based stuff, especially these Carignane led offerings, with their Buchignani, from Alexander Valley and this Mancini Ranch.
($36 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 13, 2020

2015 Weingut Maximin Grünhaus-Von Schubert, Riesling Trocken, Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg, Ruwer-Mosel, Germany.
The 2015 Maximin Grunhauer Abtsberg Grosse Lage Trocken is pure stony and mineral heaven gaining textural dimension, but with an incredible sense of restraint in fruit and a power sense of place, this chiseled dry Riesling with its golden straw color and steely intensity is almost profound, tasting of liquid rock from where these vines are dug into the slate slopes. This is fabulous stuff with subtle citrus, unripe apricot, granny smith apple and tangy quince fruits leading the way on the medium bodied mouth watering palate along with a hint of petrol, wet flint and saline, this is a soulful and earthy Riesling that has years and years of quality life ahead. The historic Maximin Grünhaus estate, which dates back to 966 AD, lies at the foot of a long, steep south-facing slope on the left bank of the tiny Ruwer river, about two kilometers upstream from where it joins the Mosel. The modern winery began, after the church was forced out of large land ownership by Napoleon when the lands were auctioned for secular use, In 1882, when it was purchased by an ancestor of Carl von Schubert, who is the fifth generation of his family to own the Grünhaus estate. The property, one of oldest and most famous in Germany is divided into three separate but contiguous vineyards of Abtsberg, which was a favorite of the abbots and at one point was theirs exclusively, Herrenberg, and Bruderberg. Each of these Maximin Grunhaus vineyards has its own individual character and taste profile with subtle differences in terroir, which explains the uniqueness of the wines made at Maximin Grünhaus.

Wines from Abtsberg or Abbot’s Mountain were originally destined for the table of the Abbot (or “Abt”) of the Abbey of St. Maximin, so good were the wines they didn’t want to share. The site covers just 35 acres, parts of which have been planted with vines for over a thousand years, as the winery notes. The Abtsberg is set on blue Devonian slate and the hillside runs south-east to south-west, achieving a gradient of up to 70 percent, making getting the grapes at harvest a tough job indeed. The Ruwer Valley is a tiny tributary that joins the Mosel just a bit downstream of Trier. Although, as the importer Loosen Bros. notes, the wines are labeled simply as “Mosel,” the Ruwer has a very distinct and delicate style due to its generally cooler conditions and well-drained slate soils with (in my opinion) less exotic or tropical fruit you see in riper areas of the Mosel. The age of vines range between 30 and 70 years for this Trocken bottling and the grapes are painstakingly hand harvested from these low-yielding mostly old vines in the Maximin Grunhauser Abtsberg vineyard. In the cellar the Von Schubert’s employ a spontaneous “Sponti” fermentation in 1,000-liter Fuder (large German oak) casks. This bottling is a real sleeper and unlike the Prädikat wines, like the Kabinett and Spatlese that are more widely available, this dry version can be found with some effort and is a wildly delicious deal, it should be on your Riesling radar. I was lucky to sit in on a panel with Herr von Schubert, along with Philippe Wittmann, Dr. Loosen and some other esteemed German producers a few years back, where their dry GG’s were discussed as well as poured and Maximin Grunhaus stood out for its quiet nobility, it was something that has stayed with me.
($28 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

Grapelive: Wine of the Day June 12, 2020

2016 Big Basin Vineyards “Homestead” Rhone Style Red Blend, California.
Bradley Brown’s Big Basin Vineyards delicious Homestead is a dark heavily Syrah led Rhone varietal blend that incorporates fruit from some of his favorite Santa Cruz & Gabilan Mountain vineyard sites, including his estate and the Coastview Vineyard, all hillside and ocean influenced climates. The 2016 is drinking absolutely fantastic right now and is really opening up into a stylish and thrilling wine, made from 48% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 9% Carignane and 1% co-fermented Viognier grapes delivering a Cote-Rotie meets Gigondas or Chateauneuf du Pape like performance in the glass with a deep purple/black and garnet hue and loads of black fruit, minty herb, light florals, spice and contrasting savory/gamey elements. This wine is a great value and is still available from the winery’s cellar, along with the just released 2017 that is more Grenache based with some fruit coming from the Brosseau vineyard in Chalone. The 2016 has a hint of whole bunches and a faint stem influence with the perfect amount of game, earth and tapenade underneath a rich layering of dark berry fruits that flows beautifully across the full bodied palate with lush and expressive boysenberry, black raspberry, damson plum, blueberry and currant fruits along with peppercorns, licorice, sage, lavender, lilacs and cedar with a bit of kirsch lingering on the finish. This wine will continue to impress for many years to come, it will also go great with Summer BBQs, it is a wine to stock up on and enjoy for the next 3 to 5 years easy.

The Homestead Red highlights the granitic and limestone terroir of the Gabilan Mountains where Brown sourced the majority of the fruit with Syrah and Grenache from the granite and limestone soils at Coastview Vineyard located just miles South of Mt. Harlan at 2400 feet above sea level. As well as including 30 year old Mourvedre vines from the Antle Vineyard, now known as Rodnick Farm Vineyard, on chalky soils that helps provides the grip or spine of this wine. Brown says that some of the grapes came from his estate, famous for Syrah, plus he adds that there is a small bit of Cabernet Sauvignon sometimes thrown in, plus that tiny co-fermented Viognier with, as he notes, the additional component here includes some 80+ year old, dry farmed Carignane from the Cienega Valley located below Calera’s Mount Harlan AVA. Big Basin’s fermentations are done with indigenous yeasts and minimal intervention with long macerations and usually lengthy elevage to allow the wines to fully develop before release. For the Homestead Brown aged it in neutral or well seasoned used barrels to showcase this wine’s purity or transparency of fruit and sense of place. The highlight of this 2016 Homestead is its drinkability and freshness with its nice acidity and supple tannin structure as well as its round pleasing textures, it is a well crafted effort that certainly over delivers for the price, it also provides an awesome gateway into the house style at Big Basin where you’ll find some outstanding limited production hand crafted wines with the Rattlesnake Rock Syrah being the signature masterpiece of the collection.
($28 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive