2012 Beckmen Vineyards Cuvee Le Bec Santa Ynez Valley

2012 Beckmen Vineyards Cuvee Le Bec Santa Ynez Valley

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A past Wine Access story about 2012 Beckmen Vineyards Cuvee Le Bec Santa Ynez Valley

All orders placed today will ship next week — shipping included on 6 bottles or more.

Parker’s “World’s Finest” Under-$17 American Red


Robert Parker called Steve Beckmen’s “Cuvee Le Bec” one of the “wine world’s finest bargains.” Wine Spectator pushed the envelope further, including Beckmen’s voluptuous Rhône blend on its list of the “100 Outstanding Values” of the year.

In 1996, Tom Beckmen (Steve’s dad) purchased a stunning 365-acre hillside property overlooking the Santa Ynez Valley. Early soil studies indicated an unusually rich concentration of limestone on the mountain, which when coupled with Ballard Canyon’s cool, maritime microclimate, argued for the planting of Rhône varieties. With elevations reaching above 1,250 feet, they devised a vineyard blueprint that called for a diverse clonal mix of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvédre. Over the next decade, Purisima Mountain was planted accordingly, an achievement that ranks among the most ambitious viticultural endeavors in the history of Santa Ynez.

Beginning in the mid-2000s, the kingpins of Ballard Canyon — Beckmen Vineyards, Stolpman Vineyards, and Jonata (Screaming Eagle’s sister winery) — have been turning out some of the most brilliant Syrahs in California, with many releases rivaling or surpassing the greats of the Northern Rhône. Still, bottles like Beckmen’s “Syrah Clone #1,” Stolpman’s “Hilltops,” and Jonata’s “La Sangre de Jonata” largely eluded the critical radar.

But as the economy picked up steam in 2014, and Santa Barbara’s three superstars each released mind-boggling 2012s, the rich and often famous of Los Angeles made a beeline for Ballard Canyon.

First came Hollywood: A star here or there, then the entire cast. Then it was the Googlers, making the haul all the way up from Venice Beach. Finally, when former and current Los Angeles Lakers brought their posses to tower over the bar at the understated Beckmen tasting room on Ontiveros Road, all bets were off.

“To be honest,” Steve told us, “we were working too hard in the vines and the cellar to see what was coming. But by the end of the year, our Direct-to-Consumer business was up 50%. We ran out of the high-end Syrahs. We’re down to the last cases of the 2012 Purisima Grenache (Parker’s 93-pointer puts most Châteauneuf-du-Papes to shame!). I love blending ‘Le Bec.’ I like giving people a bargain. But the grapes that go into ‘Le Bec’ are the same as those that go into the higher-priced wines. Economically, ‘Le Bec’ doesn’t add up.”

The 2012 Cuvee Le Bec is a $25 bottle masquerading behind a far more modest price tag. 43% Grenache, 34% Syrah, 15% Mourvédre, and 8% Counoise. Bright ruby to the rim. Mouthwatering floral aromas of dark red fruits, tobacco, and sweet spice, mineral and complex. Rich, juicy, and high-toned on the attack, silken in texture, filled with a plush mix of black raspberry preserves, tinged with violets and a dash of white pepper. Finishes, as always, with excellent persistence and limestone-infused vibrancy. Drink now for its sheer primary-fruit pleasure or lay down for 3-5 years.

100 cases. Only $16.50 today on WineAccess. No dawdling. This offer won’t be live for more than an hour or two. All orders placed today will ship next week — shipping included on 6 bottles or more.

Expert Ratings and Reviews

90 Points Wine Advocate, 2015
90 Points Wine Advocate, 2016
88 Points Vinous Media

Customer Ratings

Based on 233 ratings
Hitting the Mark

You can crybaby all you want about this and that in the wine world, as esoteric a subject as there has ever been. All I can say is that, bang for buck, this is one of the best bottles of wine I have ever had. Pure hedonism and enjoyment. I have been drinking Le Bec since 2005 so I may be a little partial but this is always a great QPR bottle. But 2012 takes it up 6 notches. It's like sipping from a bowl of blue berries and black berries with pepper and spices in perfect harmony with the fruit. This just a week of rest and it's already a mind blowing flavor bomb. Redux???

Loved this wine!!!

I like this wine- good nose in the glass, smooth fruity flavor, rich in texture. hint of pepper, and complex as noted above.

Very rich & smooth tannins. Very much Rhone like!

$16.50. 12 bottles. Great wine to pair with grilled red meat. This blend is not for the purist, so it is not easy to compare to other wines. But that's precisely what makes this fun to open. Drink blind with some friends and they will find it extraordinary in it's complexity. Leather, smoke, tobacco, black currant, black berry, licorice... it's a blend and wrestles the best out of each varietal. Hats off to the wine maker!

nothing exciting about this wine....

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