Tom Beckmen and his son Steve own one of the most unique parcels in California's Central Coast: Purisima Mountain Vineyard. This 365-acre hillside parcel overlooks the Santa Ynez Valley and sits on a bed of rocky limestone subsoil. Though common in the great Rhone regions of Chateauneuf du Pape and Cote Rotie, limestone subsoil is extremely rare in California, which is exactly why the Beckmens chose the location for their vineyards back in the mid-1990s.
Referred to as "calcaire" by vignerons in the Rhone Valley, limestone is composed of calcium carbonate, a substance that is extremely difficult for roots to penetrate. The result is a less vigorous growing condition that produces smaller vines with naturally occurring low yields of intensely flavored fruit.
It took a little time to both recognize the proper viticultural techniques for the land and to develop a reputation, but after years of intense vineyard development and recent adoption of the most rigorous biodynamic farming methodology, the Beckmens' Rhone-styled wines are among the elite of California. The Cuvee Le Bec Red is built around a core of 44% Grenache and also incorporates Syrah, Mourvedre, and a little Counoise.
This is a delicious California version of a southern Rhone red--with the concentration and backbone to stand up to hearty and refined cuisine. The nose shows aromas of plum, pomegranate, and nutmeg, and there are rich notes of raspberry and cherry on the palate, with a lingering finish with hints of chocolate and black cherry.
Steve and Tom Beckmen
Try this wine with barbecued pork chops or even ribs. The bold, rich character of the wine will be the perfect foil for the smoky flavors and spicy marinade of the grilled meat.