Beekeeper Cellars, Secret Stones Zinfandel, Rockpile Appellation, Sonoma County, California, 2018
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
Grape / Blend
97% Zinfandel, 3% Petite Sirah
Appellation: Rockpile, Sonoma County
Vineyard: Madrone Spring Vineyard
Winemaker's Tasting Note
The distinctive Madrone Spring Vineyard provides the patient pending fruit quality that is Rockpile.There is always a lavish set of quality marks in our high elevation, dry farm of Rockpile that showcases the secrets nidden in the stones. With great natural acidity and popping red and purple fruits, this 2018 is screaming raspberry fruit roll up! This vineyard gives us more fruit quality in smaller berries, with thicker Skins and more nomogeneous ripening (yes - Lintandel) and more threads in the fabric (acidity, texture, tannin). 2018 is a gloriously balanced and pure expression of Zinfandel and our style allows that to really shine. No raisin, no prune, 100% high tier French oak (20% new), and the kiss of Petite Sirah that fills in the center. Enjoyable now but built to age and improve over the next 3-10 years.
96 Points - Connaisseurs Guide
There is host of accomplished Zinfandels to choose from these days, but we have come to expect Beekeeper's version to vie for top honors as each new vintage arrives, and the latest Secret Stones bottling is a stunning, amazingly well-made wine that does not disappoint. It is a big, remarkably deep working that is brimming with concentrated, very pure varietal fruit and, while fully ripe, never crosses the line into excess. It is nothing short or an absolute show-stopper now, but it has all the hallmarks of a classic rendition that will grow and grow with time, and serious collectors lucky enough to hide a few bottles away in the dark and distant recesses or the cellar for a full decade or more will see just now good genuinely great Zinfandel can be when given the chance to age.
95+ Points - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Medium ruby-purple, the 2018 Zinfandel Rockpile Secret Stones offersgenerous layers of blackberries, blueberries and cranberries with tonesof crushed stone, allspice, peaches and wildflowers. The full-bodiedpalate is plush and ripe without going over the top, a streak of stonycharacter anchoring its layered fruits. It is supported by loads of grainytannins and bright acidity that highlight pretty, spicy layers and drive thelong finish. Powerful yet elegant, and blended with a 3% dash of PetiteSirah, it will be long lived in the cellar. 250 cases were made.
93 Points - Jeb Dunnuck
Coming from a steep hillside vineyard in the Rockpile AVA in Sonoma, the 2018 Zinfandel Secret Stones is 97% Zinfandel and 3% Petite Sirah. It's another elegant, medium-bodied wine from this estate offering terrific complexity in its red and black berry fruits, sandalwood, dried flowers, and spice-driven aromas and flavors. Nicely balanced, fresh, and elegant, it too should have a solid decade of longevity.
93 Points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
The nose is sticky plum, grilled meat, sappy underbrush and licorice. The palate entry is polished red currant and cherry with sappy nectar in the core leading to a finish of broken rock, watermelon and black pepper spice. Drink 2021 - 2030.
Product size: 750ml
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