2009 Big Basin Vineyards "Alfaro Family Vineyard" Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

SKU #1118094 93 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 The 2009 Pinot Noir Alfaro Family Vineyard shows gorgeous up-front richness, much of which comes from the Dijon clones. Dark cherries, flowers menthol, licorice and violets come together nicely in this juicy, ripe Pinot. The 2009 was fermented with 10% whole clusters and aged for 16 months in French oak, 50% new. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.  (8/2011)

92 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Vivid red. Sexy red fruits and Asian spices on the nose, with deeper notes of cola and mocha adding complexity. Sappy and intensely fruity, with very good depth and clarity to its raspberry and cherry compote flavors. The sweet finish shows strong spicy cut. Blends opulence with vivacity and offers plenty of immediate appeal, but this wine is balanced to age.  (11/2011)

89 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Big Basin's Pinots are as a group more geared to ripeness and richness than prettified delicacy, and this very bold, full-bodied effort goes right to the point. It is weighty and slightly thick on the palate, yet it tastes specifically of Pinot Noir, and, while it may be too much of a good thing when set alongside lighter dishes, it is deep and tasty and will make a fine foil to hearty roasts and stews.  (2/2012)

K&L Notes

Quoting Wine Advocate's Antonio Galloni: "Bradley Brown crafts gorgeous artisan wines from his vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey County. The wines are fermented with ambient yeasts, see no racking and are bottled unfined and unfiltered. The Pinots are aged in 50% new medium toast barrels, while some of the Syrah and Syrah-based blends see higher amounts of new wood. Brown is gradually moving towards reducing toast levels and amounts of new oak. The 2008s are big, rich wines marked by the low yields of the year that are the result of the spring frost. Vintage 2009 was a flashier, more overt year until a heavy rainstorm hit on October 13. The 2009s generally are lower in alcohol than the 2008s. As good as these wines are - and they are often outstanding - my feeling is that Brown has just scratched the surface of his potential." (08/2011)

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Price: $49.99
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Pinot Noir

- One of France's most legendary grapes and the grape that earned Burgundy its reputation. The parent of varietals like Pinot Gris/Grigio and Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir is blue to violet to indigo in color with relatively thin skins, and it is said to have been cultivated in France for more than 2,000 years. At its best, Pinot Noir creates elegant wines that are filled with primary red fruit aromas and flavors while young, revealing with an array of secondary characteristics like earth, smoke, violet, truffle and game with age. The varietal is also known, perhaps better than any, for its ability to translate terroir, or a sense of place. While the best Pinot Noir still comes from Burgundy, it is being produced with increasing success in cooler climates around the world. In France, it is part of the trifecta of grapes that can go into Champagne, and it is also grown in Alsace, Irancy, Jura, Savoie, Lorraine and Sancerre. Outside of France it is produced under the names Pinot Nero and Blauburgunder in Italy's mountainous regions, as Spätburgunder in Germany and as Blauburgunder in Austria. In the US, Pinot Noir has found suitable growing conditions in the cooler parts of California, including Carneros, the Russian River Valley, the Anderson Valley, the Sonoma Coast, Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands and Santa Barbara County, as well as in Oregon's Willamette Valley. In recent years, New Zealand has demonstrated its ability to interpret this hard-to-grow varietal, with successful bottlings coming from careful and attentive growers in Central Otago, Martinborough and Canterbury. Chile is also an up-and-coming region for Pinot Noir, creating fresh, fruit-forward, early-drinking and affordable Pinots from the coastal Casablanca Valley and the Limari Valley.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Santa Cruz Mountains

- Vineyards dot the valleys and ridges of this coastal AVA just south of San Francisco. Microclimates make it difficult to generalize, and vineyards are frequently separated by acres of forests and meadowlands (not to mention entire towns!), but this is nonetheless known as a cooler-climate zone ideal for pinot noir. Ridge is doubtless the most famous local producer, with its cabernet blend, Monte Bello, named after a Santa Cruz mountain peak. High-quality, low-production chardonnay and some RhĂ´ne varietals prosper as well.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.2