2011 Beckmen Vineyards Cuvee Le Bec Santa Ynez Valley 12-Pack
 
We're sorry, this offer is sold out.
Read about wines still available for purchase »


Beckmen Vineyards A Flash Frost and the Spectator's Top 100

Often, we begin by telling you how we discovered a bottle before the critics came calling. Not today. There's no sense wasting words explaining why Robert Parker called Steve Beckmen's Cuvee Le Bec "one of the world's finest red wine bargains," nor making a big deal out of Le Bec's placement on the Wine Spectator's short list of the "Top 100 Value Wines" in the world.

Instead, we're going to tell the story of an improbable flash frost -- the first of its kind in twenty years -- and how a young winegrower overcame the cruelty of Nature's caprice, fashioning one of the most luscious red blends of his career.

For a half-dozen years, Steve Beckmen's brilliant Syrahs, Grenaches and Mourvedres have charmed critics with their hopped-up wild berry concentration and limestone vibrancy. But, on April 10, 2011, after we drove to the top of Purisima Mountain, we took one look at Steve Beckmen's ashen complexion and knew something was terribly out of kilter.

Ballard Canyon is known throughout California for its mild temperatures, and the steady breeze that tempers Santa Barbara's summer sun. Temperatures rarely dip below freezing after bud break, but at 2 am on April 10, 2011, the thermometer did just that. Fearing the worst, Steve Beckmen awoke at 5 am. By 10 am, he'd buzzed up and down each hillside on an ATV, assessing damage. While the top of the property had been left untouched, the entire base of Purisima Mountain was decimated by the first spring frost in memory.

"I was shell-shocked," Steve told us last week in Los Olivos. "We put so much into the vineyard. All the pilot holes, soil studies, clone selections and plantings. Then all the biodynamic farming. We felt we'd done everything right. But, one thing I've learned about farming. It's when you start to feel most comfortable, that you know you're really in trouble. In just a couple of hours, we lost 30% of the crop!"

As we've explained many times over the last years, it's in vintages like this one that the most determined growers really shine. The summer was cold, even cooler than 2010. Had the crop load been copious, the later maturing varieties -- Grenache and Mourvedre -- would never have ripened. But with yields trimmed radically by the frost and the cold summer, each plant carried just a few clusters, magnifying concentration, jumpstarting maturity. Steve Beckmen wouldn't complete his harvest until well into October. Little fruit made it to the Beckmen crusher, but that which did was infused with luscious red fruit concentration, buttressed by riveting Ballard Canyon maturity.

The 2011 Beckmen Cuvee Le Bec is one of the most beautifully delineated, elegant releases in a decade. Glistening dark ruby to the edge, with piercing high-toned aromas of raspberry preserves, black cherry and sweet spices. Rich, finely honed and elegant on the attack, the tiny crop of 2011 provided not only for lavish concentration, but riveting, high-tension backbone.



Tasting Notes

2011 Beckmen Vineyards Cuvee Le Bec Santa Ynez Valley
"Glistening dark ruby to the edge, with piercing high-toned aromas of raspberry preserves, black cherry and sweet spices. Rich, finely honed and elegant on the attack, the tiny crop of 2011 provided not only for lavish concentration, but riveting, high-tension backbone."
-- WineAccess Travel Log

 

By law, wine may ONLY be shipped to the following states: AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, IA, ID, IL, KS, LA, ME, MI, MN, MO, NC, NE, NH, NM, NV, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.