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

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