Beekeeper Cellars, Hidden Hillside Reserve, Sonoma County, California, 2017 (Magnum)
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.
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.”
The Madrone Spring Site is Dry Farmed, and CCSF Sustainably Farmed.
Grape / Blend
90% Zinfandel & 10% Petite Sirah
75% GT Vineyard in Rockpile, 25% Madrone Spring Vineyard, Rockpile
Sonoma County, California
Winemaker's Tasting Note
2017 is another great vintage for Zinfandel in Sonoma County. 2017 had a few significant vintage events: (1) Upon bud break, a lighter than normal crop was observed: a well-boding sign of a quality vintage. (2) During bloom (around May) we had a very cool period, which resulted in lots of unfertilized berries. These berries are removed from our sorting table, in observance of our insistence on quality over quantity, and our sorting tables were busy. (3) A significant heat spike in early September sent many wineries into harvest, but our wise team held off and allowed the vineyard to rebound… which brought about amazing perfume, complexity, and depth to a small, high-quality harvest. Our final wines reflect the nuances of the 2017 year and we believe this will be a favorite vintage for many of our fans and collectors.
97 Points - Purely Domestic Wine Review
The nose is immediately open and assertive with forward orange, plum and wild grape flecked with Demerara and cocoa powder. The palate entry is supple, polished stone fruits integrated with orange, sandalwood and nutmeg that deliver a saturated yet lively dimension to the core. Youthful on the finish. Give it a year, really.
95+ Points and Top Ten 3 Star Wines of 2020 - Connoisseurs' Guide
Picking a favorite from the new Beekeeper releases each year is far from easy, but it is a task that is nothing less than a pure joy, and the winery’s three new offerings only strengthen its place as a Zinfandel maker at the absolute top of its game. The 2017 Hidden Hills Reserve, while a bit tight, is a wine of enormous depth and detail and, as expected, shows the structure and sheer fruity volume that typify Beekeeper’s very best efforts. It surprises a bit by being momentarily juicy in a way that almost tempts drinking now, but, however rich it may be in its youth, its tantalizing suggestions of certain layering to come keep us from prematurely pulling its cork. Expect no fewer than five or six years of positive growth and count on it being better yet as it reaches its tenth anniversary.
94 Points - Wine Enthusiast
A reserve-tier wine made only in worthy years, this delivers complex, richly layered flavors of blueberry, blackberry and nutmeg with plenty of power in the glass. Blended with a small amount of Petite Sirah, it comes from two sites in Rockpile, aged 15 months in French oak. Soft, rounded and in balance within its context of concentration, it offers firm tannin, dried herb earthiness and a lasting taste of black pepper and licorice.
Product size: 1.5L
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