2018 Big Basin Lester Family Vineyard Pinot Noir Santa Cruz
Region: Santa Cruz Mountains
Bradley is our founder, vineyard manager, and guide, uncompromising in his commitment to producing authentic and compelling wines, farming organically, and working with the best vineyard sites throughout the Santa Cruz and Gabilan Mountains.
Bradley was drawn to California post college for the natural beauty of the Sierras where he climbed, backpacked, and skied. He gradually made his way down the peninsula to Portola Valley and eventually to Boulder Creek in the heart of the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Under the guidance of Rhône Ranger John Alban, Bradley planted our Rattlesnake Rock Estate vineyard in 2000, vinified our first vintage in 2002, and built our winery in 2003 using redwoods sustainably harvested from the Estate.
Bradley presently serves on the Board of Directors for the Santa Cruz Mountain Winegrowers Association. He lives on the property with his two young sons, Kiran and Lakota, both of whom love grapes and tractors.
Vineyard and Region Information: When you are setting out to produce Pinot Noir that is evocative of the old world, there are very few places in the new world where one can achieve that. The region that we feel has been most successful in this regard is the extreme California coast - those vineyards planted within six miles of the Pacific and the cooling fog that rolls in off the ocean. The Corralitos foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains are just a few miles from the deep waters and abundant fog of Monterey Bay. It has proven over the years to be one of our favorite places to source Pinot Noir as every year we get enough fog and cooling from the ocean to allow the grapes to ripen slowly. The net effect is great physiological ripeness at low sugar levels, along with well lignified stems. We believe these are essential to produce great Pinot.
Wine Notes: The nose is redolent of pomegranate, hints of baking spice, fresh cherries. The texture is fine grained and silky with hints of the dense and fine stem tannin still lingering and which will no doubt resolve over time and meld into the wine giving it greater body and texture. In some past vintages of Lester, early on it would express hints of green, but there is none to be found here. While coming off as elegant and shy at first blush, the density and texture on the palate along with seamless acidity bely a wine that will pay dividends with some aging time. The palate echoes the nose with red fruits, cherries, pomegranate and those subtle hints of spice that are a telltale characteristic Pinots from the Corralitos region.
”The 2018 Pinot Noir Lester Family Vineyard is fabulous. The best elements of the Big Basin style come together in a Pinot that has it all: soaring aromatics, deep fruit and plenty of backing structure. Some of the 2018 Pinots are quite giving today, but not the Lester. It needs at least a few years in bottle to fully come together. Dark, brooding and mysterious, the 2018 will have much to say when the time comes.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous. 94 Points
Jeb Dunnuck. 93 Points Matt Kettman, Wine Enthusiast. 93 Points
Slightly tart raspberry and red plum skin aromas are sprinkled in herbal forest floor scents, cracked pepper and pine needle on the nose of this energetic wine. Bay leaf leads the herbal palate, where more tangy plum and rounder melon rind flavors align.