2011 Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Purisima Mountain Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
Expert Rating
RP 91 points
(Read the full review below)
 
We're sorry, this offer is sold out.
Read about wines still available for purchase »


Steve Beckmen and Beckmen Vineyards A Thanksgiving Harvest on Purisima Mountain

On April 8th, 2011, we left Santa Barbara at 9:15 a.m. heading north on 101 towards the 246 cut-off. A few minutes after 10, we'd arrived at Purisima Mountain. We pulled onto the Beckmen family's gravel driveway and headed up the mountain to the house at the top of the ridge.

We've known Steve Beckmen for almost 20 years. Over those years, we've traveled together to the northern Rhône valley, to Tuscany and Piedmont. Steve is wired on the inside, but almost always quiet and easy-going in a social setting. But that morning, as we piled out of the cherry-red Corolla, our affable buddy was anything but calm.

There were dark circles under Steve's eyes as he sped up the hill on his ATV. The brim of Beckmen's Dodgers baseball cap was tipped up, the hat set at an odd angle on his head. The winemaker's face, usually bright and healthy, was drained of color, ashen.

Ever since Tom Beckmen, Steve's dad, pulled the trigger on this limestone-strewn slope, pouring a fortune into the planting and farming of what may well be the finest Syrah and Grenache on the coast, neither father nor son had worried about risk of frost. But a week before, after studying the anticipated weather patterns, Steve called his Dad. "I was worried. The chance was slim, but even a 10 percent chance of frost was too much for me."

Ballard Canyon is well known for its diurnal temperature shifts, where daytime highs and nighttime lows differ by as much as 40 degrees. As each day passed, Beckmen was more and more on edge. The night of April 7th was looking like a long one. The predicted low was now 33 degrees — far too close for comfort.

At 9 p.m. on April 7th, Steve uncorked a bottle of 2009 Purisima Mountain Syrah. He hadn't eaten. His stomach was doing somersaults. As the pitch-black mountain sky became starlit, Beckmen checked the thermometer on the outdoor patio. 36 degrees. He drank half a glass in a single swig.

At midnight, the mercury had dropped four degrees. While heartier, thick-skinned Roussanne would scrape through, the Syrah and head-trained Grenache planted on the cooler lower quadrant of the property would not. Beckmen, who rarely drinks anything but wine, then reached for the Absolut. He never made it up to bed.

If Beckmen's prized Syrah was pulverized by the frost, leaving barely 1 ton per acre for the October harvest, the head-trained Grenache plants were even more precariously exposed. The first words out of Steve's mouth when he climbed off his ATV on the morning of April 8th were: "I just lost all of my 2011 Grenache!"

Indeed, that would have been the case, had the guy farming mountain terraces been anyone other than Steve Beckmen. Over the following months, Beckmen farmed every plant on Purisima Mountain by hand, reshaping the vines in response to the spring calamity. "We had to do the exact opposite of what we normally do. Typically, we do our best to shade the fruit from the sun, but in the summer of 2011, we opened up the canopy, exposing the fruit to more light and sun. Then, as we'd already lost 75 percent of our production, we gambled on making something extraordinary. We harvested a half ton per acre of Grenache — on Thanksgiving Day!"

Châteauneuf-like in concentration, but more Northern Rhône-like in its acid balance and structure, the 2011 Beckmen Grenache Purisima Mountain ranks among the top five or six California Grenaches we've ever tasted. Brilliant, deep ruby to the rim, infused with mouthwatering aromas of black raspberry and wild strawberry, violets, tinged with sweet spice minerality. Rich, sleek and polished on the attack with a beautifully delineated core of crushed-red-fruit compote, high-toned and vibrant, all braced by electrifying Purisima Mountain acidity. Drink now-2025!



Tasting Notes

2011 Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Purisima Mountain Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
"Châteauneuf-like in concentration, but more Northern Rhône-like in its acid balance and structure, the 2011 Beckmen Grenache Purisima Mountain ranks among the top five or six California Grenaches we've ever tasted. Brilliant, deep ruby to the rim, infused with mouthwatering aromas of black raspberry and wild strawberry, violets, tinged with sweet spice minerality. Rich, sleek and polished on the attack with a beautifully delineated core of crushed-red-fruit compote, high-toned and vibrant, all braced by electrifying Purisima Mountain acidity. Drink now-2025!"
-- WineAccess Travel Log

2011 Beckmen Vineyards Grenache Purisima Mountain Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
"Along the same lines quality wise, the 2011 Grenache Purisima Mountain Vineyard comes from a higher elevation block than the Block Eight. Offering up loads of juicy, vibrant fruit, crushed berries, bramble and sweet spice, this rounded, supple and beautifully fresh Grenache will drink nicely through 2019. Drink now-2019."
91 points -- Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate

 

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, MT, NC, NE, NH, NM, NV, OH, OR, PA, SC, TN, VA, VT, WA, WI, WV, WY.