2007 Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Purisima Mountain Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
The Syrah gets most of the press, but the Grenache is something else. Why so little journalistic noise about one of the most explosive red wines in California? Because there's so little Purisima Mountain Grenache that it rarely makes it out of the Beckmen tasting room.
Steve Beckmen had just returned from France when his Dad, Tom, told him he had purchased a steep hillside parcel tucked in a cool spot, overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley. Syrah was just gaining steam in Santa Barbara County, and hillside exposition and mineral soils seemed ideal for the northern Rhone variety. But Steve couldn't get Chateauneuf out of his head, so he began to work on Tom.
In the end, Steve wore Tom down -- just a little -- and planted a few acres of Grenache, a chunk of which sits at the very top of the hillside at 1200 feet. It's a good thing Tom caved.
No one hears about the Beckmen Purisima Mountain Grenache because the wine barely sees the light of day: outside of the tasting room and mailing list. In 2007, with the fabulously long growing season, small yields, modest temperatures and blue skies (not dissimilar to the scenario in the southern Rhone in 2007), the wine popped. Parker said "WOW" and raved about the Chateuneuf-like aromas and flavors, describing the wine as being "opulent, sexy" and (we love this) "hedonistically and intellectually" pleasing.
Parker got this one right. This 2007 Grenache is packed with wild red fruit, the kind of Grenache that is all too reminiscent of Chateauneuf. This is one of those gentle monsters, so aromatically explosive, with such concentration, that it makes you wonder if the Beckmens shouldn't have planted all of Purisima Mountain with Grenache.
Purisima Mountain Vineyard
"The brilliant 2007 Grenache Purisima Mountain is no wimpy wine at 15.5% alcohol, but wow, a seamlessness as well as copious quantities of kirsch liqueur, licorice, and spice box are present in this beautifully proportioned, full-bodied, opulent, sexy Grenache. Both intellectually and hedonistically pleasing, it should be drunk over the next 3-5 years."
91 points--Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate