2014 Big Basin Vineyards Gabilan GSM
The Gabilan Mountains are a sizable range of rugged granitic and calcareous limestone rich mountains that run down the East side of the Salinas Valley, in Monterey County. The Rhone varietals tend to be their most complex, interesting and revealing their true character potential and vineyard terrior when planted on steep, rocky hillsides. The Gabilans are home to two famous AVAs, Mount Harlan (Calera Wine Company) and Chalone (next to Pinnacles National Park), which have demonstrated there is indeed something special about these mountains. We sourced the Grenache and Syrah for this blend from the 15 year old vines of the Coastview Vineyard, located six miles south of Calera’s Mount Harlan AVA and perched at 2,400 ft mountain top. The Mouvedre is from the 30+ year old Antle Vineyard (formally Graff Family Vineyard - Dick Graff was the founder of the Chalone Wine Company and AVA). The region is hardly hospitable to any crop other than low yielding, character rich wine grapes. We believe this among the greatest places to grow Rhone varietals in California which into context that about half of our production is sourced from these remote mountainous vineyards.
Big Basin Vineyards was founded in 1998 on an historic site in the Santa Cruz Mountains next to Big Basin Redwoods State Park. The old ranch property was first settled in the late 1800s. Wine grape cultivation had been started by French immigrants by the early 1900s and continued until 1965 when the property was sold by Justin Lacau, who had named the property “Frenchy’s Ranch”, to a timber company. By the 1990s, all that remained of the vineyards were redwood stakes and scattered vines hidden by brush and poison oak bushes. Our mission has been to restore this historic vineyard site using modern, organic viticultural methods. Drainage and erosion problems have been corrected, while we have nutured the soil with organic composts and cover crops. Our entire vineyard and olive tree orchards have been Certified Organic by CCOF. The remaining 90% of the estate is being preserved in its natural state. Mountain lions, bobcats, deer, fox, and coyotes are all found in this forest ecosystem. It is our hope that someday the redwood forest surrounding the vineyards will once again achieve the stature of a primeval old growth forest. Our winery building was completed in December 2003 on the same site as the original 1890s house/winery structure which burned down in the 1970s. It is a ‘Monitor’-style barn with a timber frame construction built using redwood selectively harvested from the estate. While the style of building is historic, it is built to be highly energy efficient and ideal for artisan winemaking. The first floor is temperature controlled for controlled barrel aging and fermentations.
Vinous, 94 points
The 2014 GSM Gabilan Mountain is another winner from Big Basin. Powerful and dark in the glass, the 2014 is tightly wound and in need of time. Even so, the aromatics are quite expressive, with lovely tobacco, spice, licorice and menthol overtones that open up in the glass. In 2014, Grenache is the dominant variety, but there is a lot of Mourvedre character that comes through as well. The 2014 is just as impressive as it was last year.
USA, California, Monterey County
49% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre, 19% Syrah
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Bottles are in perfect condition.