TN: 2006 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock

Here’s a terrific mid-decade CA syrah that doesn’t go off the boozy rails, showing a fruit centric approach that is delicious. We did this alongside a thin crust margarita pizza and the bottle, she is a gonner now. Nice for a World Series/pizza wine. Thanks for reading.

  • 2006 Big Basin Vineyards Syrah Rattlesnake Rock - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (10/23/2013)
    Opened about 2 hours ago, no decant. This has a smoky quality to the aromatic, pepper, purple flower. The weight of this is more than medium but it doesn’t go full body, tending to a lighter weight expression, which makes it nice. That weight is a good balance against the jammier fruit that lies in the center of the wine. Call it jammy, like the jam that comes out of a blue/black fruited preserve, that kind of purity. And finally, what I also like in the presence of this fruit quality is a lack of heat in the wine, which is listed at 14.1%, which seems pretty close to me. There is some of what I call ‘sweet leather’ in the finish, adding that quality, along with faint herb. All in, this is very nice, expressive, real good. I would differ now with the some of the legacy comments about letting the wine age for a longer period, and I own a magnum still, so I have some skin in the aging game. For me, there isn’t a lot of structure here and this wine shines with the jammy purity and some cool climate markers so I would say drink now through 2015/2016##/list#
    #i#Posted from CellarTracker[/i]

Perfect note for this wine Frank. Had the '05 a couple of weeks ago and even though my palate isn’t really aligned with jammier wines anymore, it was quite enjoyable as well.

Great note Frank. Bradley’s Estate Syrahs are consistently fine.

Thanks for the TN Frank, your notes are spot on. I tasted the 2006 from mag a few days ago, I intend to enjoy my mag over Christmas, I think it’s pretty close to prime time.

Joe, I think you will find much promise in more recent vintages of Rattlesnake with regards to fruit ripeness levels. Both Mother Nature and more experience working with the fruit, Bradley has made spot-on picking decisions that will impress for the energy and verve of the vineyard/vintage captured in the finished wine. 2011 is a 13.2% wine that is a dead ringer for a Cote Rotie.

Steven, thanks for your tireless support!

Here are a few suggestions on some Rattlesnake Rock Syrahs I’ve had in the last few weeks:
2004 - drink/hold - structure and body! dark fruit, iron, stone, game, this wine will impress now or for some years to come.
2005 - drink (750/1.5L)
2006 - drink (750/1.5L)
2007 - drink/hold - this should be a hold as the wine is just starting to reveal its potential and hints of secondary characteristics. Enjoy one after 2+ hours decant if you have several. A wine to really enjoy in a few years.
2008 - hold - but a fine drink if tempted! Do decant for a few hours. This is the first vintage with a little Grenache added, the aromatics are extremely pretty.
2009 - hold - When I’ve been showing this wine to restaurants in SF, I open it the night before run through Menu decanter and put back into the bottle and put into the fridge overnight. Air and the time to unwind works really well with this wine right now if you’d like to enjoy sooner rather than later.

Thanks for the vintage notes, Matt. I believe I have all these up till '08. [welldone.gif]

Where’s the '02 these days?

Joe, glad you enjoyed them so much. Soon enough we will have more detailed vintage notes on our website. If you haven’t tried that '09, it’d be worth checking out, along with our newest Estate Syrah, Old Corral. Three foot spacing of Alban Power Block Syrah - intense and dense yet delicate, ample nuance of lavender, anise, slate, iron and dark fruit.

Theodore, the 2002 (and 2003) was made at Alban Vineyards. It was the shortest maceration they had ever done, only a few days after negative brix - young vines are known for tannic profiles (no stem included in this vintage). It’s resulted in a wine which is holding on strong these days. We had a 1.5L for our staff holiday party last year, WOTN for all, and we had a 750ml sometime back in Spring. It’s a wine I would crack in the next few years with confidence and expect ample structure and developed secondary characteristics. The 2003 we shared with Antonio Galloni in June was at a drink window. Enjoy with a roast or stew this winter.

Please do report back with tasting notes on these wines when you enjoy them.

Nice thanks for the note. I need to dig one out. Looks like I still haven’t tried it … although I probably did at the Falltacular at some stage. I did have the 05 Fairview the other night. No note but I recall it being a bit aggressive.


Opened the 2006 BB Mandala Friday night, and FMIII’s impressions are similar to mine, which makes sense since the Mandala was comprised of syrah from both the RR Estate and Fairview vineyards. I would add that I found a bit of plumbiness that wasn’t present in the first two bottles that I opened about three years ago. Also, those earlier bottles seemed a bit leaner.

2006 seems to be a sketchy vintage in many parts of CA, mostly not in a good way.