Beekeeper Cellars, Zinfandel, Montecillo Vineyard, Sonoma County, 2016 (97 Points) (DRY FARMED SUSTAINABLE)
Overview of the Wine
Beekeeper Cellars is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson. The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own.
Clay, a 7th generation grape grower, and his family found themselves the owners of a significant slice of the Rockpile Appellation, through an amazing set of historical land transactions. The Mauritson family realized the potential and parented the creation of the ROCKPILE AVA. In 1998, Ian and Clay climbed the hill and watched the Madrone Spring Vineyard get planted, while discussing the future of Rockpile and the dream it represented.
Beekeeper started with a simple vow: "craft beautiful vineyard expressions from premier vineyard sites, and reintroduce the quality wine audience to Zinfandel.” Today, we continue towards this goal. Our wines are crafted with all the attention to detail of an ultra premium Cabernet; premier vineyards, low yields, careful hand selection of fruit, artisan winemaking, quality focused, not quantity and the expensive use of time in quality French Oak barrels. Because of this meticulous approach and our mission, our wines are built to age. In fact, they require age. We strive to assure our audience that our Zinfandel is a worthy investment and that patience will be rewarded with additional cellarage. Ian, Clay, and day to day winemaker Emma Kudritzki Hall cannot be more excited about sharing their wines for years to come.
In the 1800s, you needed to have a noble profession gain entry into America, and Ian's great grandparents were entertainers “pre” Vaudeville, and that was NOT considered a noble profession…. quite the opposite! His family lived off the land and worked as beekeepers, hunters, farmers… and singing and dancing was part of their life. They took some liberties and said “we are beekeepers” as that was (and still is) a "noble profession." The family “bi-line” was established; “we come from a long line of beekeepers.”
Grape / Blend
95% Zinfandel 5% Petite Sirah
Sonoma County, California
97 Points and 3 Stars - Connoisseurs' Guide
"Zinfandel is rarely the recipient of the kind of swollen prose and lofty scores that are routinely thrown Cabernet Sauvignon’s way, but we suspect that even the fussiest collector of trophy wines will rethink their opinion of the variety when met with an example as deep and wonderfully well-crafted as the latest Beekeeper is. While very rich and long on exceptionally pure varietal fruit, the wine is already showing uncommon finesse and tailoring, and it is destined to age famously and grow ever more involving over the course of the next five to ten years. It is most definitely a 'keeper' and deserves a place in the cellar of every serious Zinfandel devotee."
93 Points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
"The color is impenetrable near-blackness. The nose is concentrated crushed red berry with notes of geranium and pulverized rock dust and sweet baking spice. The palate offers a black plum, deep spice essences and a finish of red raspberry and strawberry. Well focused. Drink 2019-2026."
94 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
"The 2016 Zinfandel Montecillo Vineyard (there’s 5% Petite Sirah) is a classy, medium to full-bodied, elegant Zinfandel that has lots of classic blue fruits, cedar, and white pepper aromas and flavors. Aged 15 months in 25% new French oak, it has a great texture, terrific overall balance, and is a sensational Zinfandel from this great vintage."