TNR-Checking in on Big Basin 2005 Syrah's?

Cellar cleanup going on and have the 2005 Mandela and Fairview Ranch in site
Any thoughts?

Joe if you want, check in with Matt M a t t @ They had a Mandela on pour at the last pickup but can’t remember which year. We thought it was at/very close to its peak. I popped a 2009 Coastview last night but it needed some more air time. Looking forward to finishing it.

Here is a thread that was started on the 2005 Mandela:

  • 2005 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains (1/23/2011)
    Big and bold. No doubt you’re in Cali. Smoked meat, river stones, white pepper, blueberry pie, black cherry, leather and black cherry liquer. As it had the opportunity (3 hrs) to sit on the table it fleshed out into a finely delineated pure Syrah. I can be a fan of such a bold style, just not sure I want it all the time. It is a great wine nonetheless. (91 pts.)

Posted from CellarTracker

Thanks Guys! Will line the Mandela up.

•2005 Big Basin Vineyards Mandala - USA, California, San Francisco Bay, Santa Cruz Mountains
Very Similar results to Mike’s above
tasted over 2 days pouring half to 375 upon opening and refrigerate.
Tannins seem resolved, very clean fruit. Blackberry jam and Cherry Liquer. Nose has some Violets and other flowers. Slight touch of Glycerin and Mocha. Meatty at times
Hints of Herbs but nothing stands out.
probably starting it’s optimum drinking window and should go 5 or more years.
Hard to describe just a really solid enjoyable Bottle.
I would rate it 91-93 Points.
Nice Job Bradley!

What type of life do people see on Big Basin reds on the whole, if it’s even possible to generalize? I have a few bottles (pinot mainly) at offsite storage I’ve been thinking about digging up… not sure when to do it though.


Big Basin Syrahs are about the “biggest” wines I cellar for myself personally (I also retail them). A lot of people like to claim light wines fall apart early, and a lot of people like to claim big wines don’t age. I don’t subscribe to either school of thought. These Syrahs are bigger than the North Rhone Syrahs I personally prize, but they harmonize, soften and offer secondary development as they approach 10 years of age. I bought off the list before I ever had a chance to sell them to others.

Hello All,

Thanks for your notes and interest in some of our older vintages (2002 being our first). I’ve had all of our 2005 and 2006 wines in the last few months, I’d say they are all at a drink now plateau. They probably won’t evolve much further - but then again, we could be wrong! But for the most (Berserkers), they are firing on all cylinders.

It’s also pretty fascinating to ponder the style and direction in the early days. John Alban was Bradley’s consultant/mentor for the first two vintages (2002 and 2003 both made at Alban). The early vintages seem to follow of suit an ‘Alban-esque style’, and Bradley was told it would take him 10 years to figure out what he’s doing and understand the different vineyard sites to establish his own ‘voice’ / style. The 2007 - 2009 vintages increasingly nudge towards his own style, while the cooler 2010/2011 vintages forced the hand but opened the eyes. 2012/2013 vintages allowed 10+ years of experience to truly manifest - these wines are insanely nuanced, detailed, transparent and definitively Big Basin. (I know I may be biased, but I taste many, many wines, and these wines get me seriously excited. If you’ve read this far, set up an appointment tasting with me, reference this posting in your email, and we will barrel taste some of these wines!)

The wines of today (2010+) are different than the wines of yesteryear. We are more versed on when to pick certain parts of vineyards, are using less new oak (and smarter with new oak), using more transparent barrel decisions based on years of experimenting, and using some larger format barrels (260 & 300 liters). Capturing site specific wines with perfumed aromatics, rich texture, intense palate presence with energy, verve and clean/persistent/elegant finishes are the core endgame of our farming/winemaking efforts.

@Spencer, which Pinots do you have? The 2007/2008’s are getting there (drink 2008 Woodruff), drink the 2009’s, the 10’s are drinking awesome, but have gusto to go much, much further. 2011’s, infant killing.

@Jeff, thanks for the love and rep’n our wines!