2018 Big Basin Vineyards Old Corral 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: Three blocks go into our Old Corral Pinot Noir. The first is the namesake Old Corral block. This rocky hillside slopes steeply to the South and East and is planted to the Swan selection. The steep South-facing Boulder and Rocky Blocks are planted to Mt. Eden selection. Both of these blocks are very rocky as the names would suggestion. Boulder Block is actually planted around giant boulders with tightly spaced vines (5x3) and must be farmed entirely by hand.
Vintage Notes: This was a year that defied all expectations. Acid levels were through the roof. After multiple draught vintages where sugar could jump 3 brix in less than a week (the difference of 2% alcohol!), they barely moved over two to three weeks heading into harvest. This made it a winemakers harvest where we could really fine tune the pick dates.
Wine Notes: Once again, we chose to ferment with 100% whole clusters with only indigenous yeast. The quality of fruit from our estate vineyard is always among the best we see and our Pinot Noir blocks did not disappoint! The 2018 Old Corral Pinot is tightly wound at this point as one might expect. On the nose, one can tease out notes of wild berry, pomegranate, and cherry fruit, crushed rocks and baking spice. With air and swirling the nose begins to unwind and open up with greater depth. The fruit is bright and vibrant on the palate with a serious mid palate and finish that goes long. With more air, the purity and intensity of the fruit begins to shine through. Without a doubt, this wine will improve substantially with time, so if you can be patient, you will be rewarded.
”The 2018 Pinot Noir Old Corral is a deep, virile wine. It is also the most potent of the Big Basin Pinots. Accordingly, readers should be in no rush. A blast of dark cherry, plum, licorice, sage and game adds to an impression of searing power. I would give the 2018 at least a few years in bottle, as the tannins are pretty imposing today. There is a lot of wine here.” Antonio Galloni, Vinous. 93+ Points.
Jeb Dunnuck. 91+ Points Matt Kettmann, Wine Enthusiast. 91 Points