Beekeeper Cellars, Zinfandel, Madrone Spring Vineyard, Rockpile, Sonoma County, California, 2011

Beekeeper Cellars, Zinfandel, Madrone Spring Vineyard, Rockpile, Sonoma County, California, 2011 - Merchant of Wine

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Overview of the Wine

Beekeeper Cellars is the vision of best friends and co-winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson. The two collaborated after adventurous individual careers in the wine business, and at last, decided to work together on a project of their own.

Clay, a 7th generation grape grower, and his family found themselves the owners of a significant slice of the Rockpile Appellation, through an amazing set of historical land transactions. The Mauritson family realized the potential and parented the creation of the ROCKPILE AVA. In 1998, Ian and Clay climbed the hill and watched the Madrone Spring Vineyard get planted, while discussing the future of Rockpile and the dream it represented.

Beekeeper started with a simple vow: "craft beautiful vineyard expressions from premier vineyard sites, and reintroduce the quality wine audience to Zinfandel.” Today, we continue towards this goal. Our wines are crafted with all the attention to detail of an ultra premium Cabernet; premier vineyards, low yields, careful hand selection of fruit, artisan winemaking, quality focused, not quantity and the expensive use of time in quality French Oak barrels. Because of this meticulous approach and our mission, our wines are built to age. In fact, they require age. We strive to assure our audience that our Zinfandel is a worthy investment and that patience will be rewarded with additional cellarage. Ian, Clay, and day to day winemaker Emma Kudritzki Hall cannot be more excited about sharing their wines for years to come.

Why Beekeeper?

In the 1800s, you needed to have a noble profession gain entry into America, and Ian's great grandparents were entertainers “pre” Vaudeville, and that was NOT considered a noble profession…. quite the opposite! His family lived off the land and worked as beekeepers, hunters, farmers… and singing and dancing was part of their life. They took some liberties and said “we are beekeepers” as that was (and still is) a "noble profession." The family “bi-line” was established; “we come from a long line of beekeepers.”

Dry Farmed, Sustainable
Aged: 15 months in French Oak
Production: 1080 Bottles (90 cases)

Grape / Blend

78% Zinfandel, 22% Petite Sirah

Appellation: Rockpile, Sonoma County
Vineyard: Madrone Spring Vineyard

Winemaker's Tasting Note
Great wine tells the story of the vintage and complements its natural attributes, showcases vineyard character and winemaking skill, and stays true to varietal character. Beekeeper features exotic spices, dark and intense hillside Zinfandel fruit, and maintains a balance inside its enormous structure that will age for years to come. The color of mixed blacks and ruby garnet gives way to a nose of juicy cherry skins, Asian plum and woodsy underbrush. The 22% Petite Sirah expands the wine’s profile and accentuates the Zinfandels varietal spice, pepper and red stone fruit core.
The rocky hillside vineyard provides firm acidity, layers of textural tannin and innate Rockpile minerality. At the time of release (12.1.2013) the wine had just under a year in bottle and continues to evolve; another year in bottle will surely benefit this special wine and it should continue to improve for 5-7 years. Only 90 cases produced.


96 points - 3 Puffs Connoisseurs’ Guide
This is not a wine for the faint of heart nor is it one for those who hold fast to the idea that less is more, but, as in the past, it is certain to thrill devotees of very deep, fully ripened, immensely expressive Zins who believe that generosity is not a vice. It is big but impressively balanced with wisps of briary spice and tempered oak sweetness as adjuncts to its deep and precise themes of pure blackberry fruit, and its combination of suppleness, integrated tannins and enlivening acidity bring it a real measure of crafting rare in big Zinfandels. If already tasty, as the best versions of the variety are wont to be when young, this one unquestionably has very good places to go and can only improve if allowed to sit quietly for another five or even ten years. Reviewed: January 2014 

92 Points -  The Tasting Panel and The Somm Journal
Smooth and dense, juicy and concentrated with spice, depth and rich notes of plum and blackberry; lovely and long.

Product size: 750ml

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