2019 Big Basin Vineyards, Rosé, Central Coast, California.
Bradley Brown’s Big Basin Vineyards based in the remote Santa Cruz Mountains is known mostly for their critically acclaimed estate Rattlesnake Rock Syrah, an iconic and profound wine, as well as a hand crafted collection of Rhone style bottlings, but in recent years their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines have really impressed and gained traction, especially Brown’s whole cluster driven Alfaro Family Vineyard and his elegant and Burgundy like Coastview Chardonnay. That all said, I am really into the Big Basin Vineyards dry Rosé, which is blend of Rhone grapes, with this vintage including 47% Grenache Noir, 32% Carignane, 13% Syrah and 8% Mourvedre sourced from vineyards in Monterey, San Benito, Santa Clara (Gilroy area) and Santa Cruz Mountains, hence the California designation on the label. The 2019 is vivid and beautifully pale in color, but full of flavor and striking for its flinty and stony quality, almost mineral smoky with racy fruits and snappy spices with delicate florals as well, making it very refreshing and serious stuff that expands with air to reveal grapefruit zest, tangerine, sour cherry, stone fruit or melon flesh, strawberry and rosewater, adding crushed rock, saline and wild herbs. This wine is fast becoming a favorite and has entered the must have for Summer zone along with some of the state’s best pinks done in the classic Cotes de Provence mode, its clean and bright, but a wine of substance to relish over a meal.

The Big Basin Rosé is Grenache dominant and shows it with a openly round and generous palate that unfolds purposely and slowly in the mouth, eventually evolving into a very full and complex pink wine, similar to stylish Provence offerings and great with seasonal cuisine and sea food, especially steamed mussels and or BBQed oysters. The Grenache, which makes up most of the final blend and as Brown notes, was picked specifically for this purpose, to make a Rosé, so was picked earlier with lower sugars and vibrant natural citrusy acidity and whole cluster pressed along with the old vine Carignan from Wirz Vineyard then cold fermented like a while white with the Syrah and Mourvedre being blended in later for color, depth and structure. Interestingly, the indigenous fermentation for this wine, as Bradly adds, was very long and slow and only completed a couple of weeks prior to bottling, which shows in the slight cloudy haze and sediment in the finished, unfined and unfiltered wine. The prior releases have just got better and better with age, when the lees give texture and depth, contrary to how most people think, this 2019 has another year or more to develop, just like the 2018 which is drinking fabulous right now. So need to rush it, though I would get it now, while its available, plus for those that like the gripping intensity of youth will want to drink it sooner v. later. I, myself will get a few more bottles, mostly to enjoy in the short term, but I may try to have restraint and put a bottle or two away for another 6 months to see what rewards come.
($27 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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