2017|2018 Big Basin Vineyard Grizzly Grenache 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: Our Estate Vineyard became CCOF Certified Organic in 2012. We believe in organic farming because we believe in respecting the natural ecosystem of a vineyard. We also believe organic fruit leads to healthier indigenous fermentations. We've taken the more challenging (and expensive) farming route with our highest goal in mind: to authentically express the exceptional vineyards our wines come from.
Vintage Notes: Grenache is a notoriously difficult variety to grow and craft into a fine wine. The fruit bleaches in the sun easily, and can set either a very poor crop or one that is overcropped requiring extensive thinning. 2017 marked a departure from the drought vintages of prior years. We received above average rainfall in all of our vineyards. As we don't irrigate our estate vineyard, these rains provided ample groundwater for the entire growing season. The rains ended in time for flowering to proceed without impact and most vineyards set substantial crops. Bud break came a bit later than prior years, but the vines soon caught up with hot and sunny weather only occasionally interrupted by foggy mornings. We never had enough heat to stress the vineyards and were able to harvest at ideal ripeness. We harvested from two sections of our Estate Vineyard. The first was from our section of Grenache in the Rattlesnake Rock block, while the second came from the Homestead Grenache block right above the patio. Both of these lots were aged in neutral barrels for 20 months before bottling without fining or filtration. We find that neutral vessels provide the best environment to age Grenache.
Wine Notes: Of our Fall 2021 release wines, the Grizzly is the most beguiling one. The nose is heady and compelling, both perfumed, fruit infused and spicy. If it was heady on the nose, then it is seductively expressive on the palate with unctuous and creamy texture, with layers of spicy fruit that echo through a long, long finish. We are on an endless pursuit to translate the beauty of Grenache into wine, and this is another wine on that progression. We try to hold our Grenache back longer as it really needs the time to come together. This wine is just coming around the bend and beginning to express itself. Delicious now, and stash a few for 5-10 years.