Syrah Hunter: Big Basin and Samsara

I have no ties to this retailer, but these strike me as solid values if you like high end CA syrah: has:
Samsara Ampelos 2006 - 21.99
Big Basin 2005 Fairview Ranch or Mandala - $29.99

Never had the Samsara and high ABV for me, but both seem like decent QPRs. Solid retailer I have bought from in the past with excellent taste.

That Samsara is a very nice wine!

2002 Col D’Orcia Olmaia Cabernet
Must resist. Must resist.

Excellent price on the '05 Mandala, load up!!!

Yea - go long on the Big Basin.

Great deal, but being out in CA, ground shipping isnt an option and the price of the other shipping options is a non-starter. $90 for 2 day on 6 bottles?! Pass.

I’ve had both those Big Basin wines on multiple occasions and they are well worth $30. The Mandala is actually a blend of Fairview and the estate vineyard (Rattlesnake Rock). I’m not sure which I like better… probably the Mandala. Both have fruit bomb aromatics that don’t get tired on the palate. First rate stuff.

I would jump on either Big Basin and pick up at least a six-pack if I weren’t on the west coast. What a tease.


I prefer Fairview (and Rattlesnake Rock, of course) to the blend. Probably because I love the vineyard’s expression.

For 04, 06 and 07, I agree with you, but the 2005 Mandala has been consistently superb. The Fairview turned out a bit more forward, sweet blue fruit than the Mandala that year. Both are excellent, and clear cousins of one another.

The Mandala is emphatically not declassified juice, but I wonder what considerations go into the barrel allocation between the Fairview, Mandala, and Rattlesnake Syrahs, especially in 2007, where they are more distinct and in my preliminary opinion the SVDs superior. I don’t think there is any Fairview juice in the 07 Mandala, which probably accounts for why I was less thrilled with it than usual.

With new vineyards coming into the fold and a newish county appellation wine (about to be named “Homestead” for 08), I’m not sure what to make of the Mandala’s place in the Big Basin lineup. There are getting to be too many cuvees in play for me to order everything. I like virtually all their wines, but I can’t grow my order in proportion to their expanding lineup, and the 08 Mandala is a likely pass.

But the 05 at $35-40 (insanely high shipping included) is still pretty good QPR insofar as the wine goes. I don’t care for marked up shipping as a business practice, however.

I believe the Homestead will be made up of younger vine fruit and declassified barrels, and offered at a lower price point. So, a bit like the Ridge SCM or Stefania Haut Tubee.