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.”
Dry Farmed, Sustainable
Aged: 15 months in in 100% French Oak (30% new)
Production: 1848 Bottles (154 cases)
Grape / Blend
95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah
Appellation: Rockpile, Sonoma County
Vineyard: Madrone Spring Vineyard
Winemaker's Tasting Note
The purity and finesse of this exceptional vintage dictated the style of this bottling. One of our purest and “claret like” efforts; rich crunchy red cherry and plum, cracked black pepper, cedar, gravel, stone, and a kiss of creme brulee. Signature spice and
dried underbrush, with tender yet balanced tannins. The elevated acidity from this hillside ensures this wine will age gracefully for a decade or more. 100% french oak, 25% new provides lovely nuance in the nose and mouthfeel. Drink late 2017 - 2027.
94+ Points - Review by Robert M. Parker, Jr. - eRobertParker.com
Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Zinfandel Secret Stones has a youthfully closed, rather broody nose to begin, offering glimpses of blueberry preserves,
baked black berries and prunes over Christmas cake and chocolate box hints. Big, rich and full-bodied in the mouth, it really packs in the berry preserves and
spice flavor layers, with a solid structure of velvety tannins and seamless acidity, finishing very long.
96 Points - Review by Doug Wilder - Purely Domestic Wine Report
"An intense, saturated nose of fresh, sticky blackberry, cherry, and baking spices showing rich density, notes of juniper. The palate is gorgeous on entry with gobs
of silky, sweet black currant, spicy fig and prune plums. Supple throughout, showing good acid backbone with lingering golden stone fruits on finish. Hits all the
pleasure buttons. Drink 2016-2024."
95 points - 3 Puffs Connoisseurs Guide:
Our very high regard for Beekeeperwines seems to keep getting higher with each new release, and this Secret Stones version confirms the winery’s place as one of
the very best Zinfandel makers in the business. It is explosively fruity and yet genuinely complex with layered aromas and flavors of perfectly ripe berries,
minerals and a wholly complementary splash of sweet oak, and its combination of concentration and structural strength is a sure guarantor of amazing longevity.
We see it growing with grace for no less than a decade, and it will be still going strong after two.
95 Points - Steve Heimoff
This is a big Zin, but of course, it’s Rockpile, a warm-to-hot, rocky mountain AVA in the aridly inland northwest of Dry Creek Valley, where the grapes get
super-ripe and concentrated under the sere summer sun. That concentration seems to have been even greater in this drought year. “Secret Stones” is the old
Madrone Spring Vineyard; the owners changed the name to avoid confusion with other wineries and vineyards that have the word “Madrone.” Whatever, this
wonderful Zin is easily on a par with the 2013 Madrone Spring. It is dark, aromatic and immensely complex, with a Hulkian mouthfeel. The aroma is explosive in
blackcurrants, blackberries, ripe purple plums, blueberry preserves, and black licorice, sprinkled with dark chocolate shavings, freshly-crushed black pepper and a
squeeze of anisette. There’s a welcome, tart bite of green at the end to remind you of the plant kingdom. Does that sound good? It is. The flavors sink into the
mouth and last for a long time into a spicy, dry finish. Rockpile’s famous tannins are powerful, but smooth and silky. I would drink this wine now; on the second
night after opening, the alcohol was showing through, not a good sign for aging. The details: about 30% new French oak, alcohol 14.9%, and very good acidity for
balance. A fun, heady, elegant Zin that surely is at the top of its class. What would I drink it with? Braised short ribs, but any beef or bird with the smoke of
barbecue will be fine.
Product size: 750ml