2012 Big Basin Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir


Whether you start in Santa Cruz or San Jose, getting to the Big Basin Winery takes well over an hour of driving through Redwood forests on narrow winding roads. You may wonder how a vineyard came into existence so deep in the Santa Cruz mountains. But French immigrants began planting vines on these steep hillsides over 100 years ago. Today, having restored the old vineyard slopes, the Big Basin Winery maintains careful stewardship over the historic site, farming organically and keeping yields low. Located adjacent to Big Basin Redwoods State Park, in a zone that's cooled by ocean breezes but standing above the fog layer, the mountain vineyards produce wines with pure flavors and complex nuances. Founded in 1998 by Bradley Brown and Samantha Shakti-Brown, the Big Basin Winery is known primarily for a range of Rhone-inspired wines, such as cool-climate Syrah and classic blends of Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. The winery also produces Pinot Noir, mostly from single vineyards in other parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA or in the Gabilan Mountains to the east of Salinas. The Browns are deeply committed to living and working in harmony with their land. The winery building was built from redwood selected from the woods on the estate. They practice organic viticulture (exceedingly difficult when so close to the old forests teeming with pests) and ferment their fruit using only native yeasts and often with a high inclusion of stems or whole clusters. Such dedication produces wines that not only taste delicious but capture the essence of a small farm in the Santa Cruz mountains. The vibrance and subtlety of Big Basin Pinot is what led to their being invited to join the group known as In Pursuit of Balance, a select organization dedicated to understanding, producing and promoting wines that are "balanced," that is to say, made with less manipulation and more restraint (lower alcohol and less extraction) than the California wines that typically earn high scores and cost a bundle. Big Basin is a winery that represents the very best efforts of California's younger generation of wine growers. You won ' t regret a visit to the Santa Cruz Mountains via a glass of Big Basin Pinot Noir. 


Running along the eastern side of the Salinas Valley in Monterey County, the Gabilan Mountains feature craggy peaks and soils of limestone and granite. They are also a fine terroir for Pinot Noir, as the Chalone and Calera wineries have demonstrated for decades. The Coastview Vineyard stands at an elevation of 800 m, and the small, cool block planted to Pinot Noir features several Dijon clones as well as some Pisoni selection. Bradley Brown believes that in 2012, Pinot Noir from cool sites shows great structure and aromatic complexity. In this wine, floral notes and crushed rocks seem woven together with red cherry, blood orange and pomegranate. But as a youthful and tightly wound wine, aeration (or aging) is recommended.


20% whole cluster fermentation on natural yeast. Aged 15 months in French oak. No fining or filtration.  

Tasting notes

93 points – The Wine Advocate; 91 points Wine Enthusiast. Aromas of violets, red cherries, pomegranate and a hint of pepper evolve toward darker flavors of plum, currant, licorice and dark chocolate. Medium-bodied, supple and juicy. Fantastic finish.




Pinot Noir