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 historic Black Sears Vineyard returned my call in Summer of 2012, I was looking for some “famous” hillside fruit to grow the Beekeeper brand and to give our clients another peek at our quality approach. I called many of the famous vineyards, but reputable hillside Zinfandel is highly spoken for and getting really hard to find. Luckily, Black Sears returned the call; our timing was very good."
Dry Farmed, old vines, organically grown grapes using biodynamic practices.
Aged: 15 months in in 100% French Oak (30% new)
Production: 4200 Bottles (350 cases)
Grape / Blend
99% Zinfandel, 1% Petite Sirah
Appellation: Napa Valley, California
Vineyard: Black Sears
Winemaker's Tasting Note
A dark ruby colored wine from rim to rim with a nose of spicy cracked black pepper, cold steel, graphite, dried herbs, violets, wild berry and dark plum, and hints of salted caramel. The mouth is rich, endowed and pronounced; with broad structure, ample tannin, and power, yet balanced within its large frame.
Beekeeper Cellars focuses on crafting beautiful Zinfandel, made from pedigree hillside vineyards with distinctive character and quality winemaking techniques.
95 points - 3 Puffs Connoisseurs Guide
(Top Ten 3 Puff wines of the year)
Over the past several years, Beekeeper Zinfandels have consistently ranked among our very favorites, and the winery's first bottling from the renowned Black Sears Vineyard follows form and takes a place at the head of the class. It is an enormous wine of great depth and richness, yet it is never outsized or clumsy, and it seamlessly marries lovely oak to its wonderfully well-extracted fruit. It is highly recommended for its varietal purity and focus, but it earns an extra round of applause for its very serious and ageworthy structure, and pulling its cork before at least four or five years have passed would be nothing short of a shame. Be forewarned, however, this is no mild and meek Zinfandel.
94 Points - eRobertParker.com
"Lastly, the 2012 Zinfandel Black Sears Vineyard from Howell Mountain tips the scales at 15.2% alcohol and boasts a production of 350 cases. This is 99% Zinfandel and 1% Petite Sirah from this high-elevation site in eastern Napa Valley. This sexy, deep, full-bodied, luscious wine has a dense ruby/purple color, loads of blackberry, licorice and floral notes, a full-bodied opulence, stunning purity, and a long, heady finish. This Howell Mountain Zinfandel should drink well for decade or more. Kudos to Beekeeper, as they seem to be on an impressive track of quality."
92 points - Wine Enthusiast
Nicknamed Black Bee, this hearty, rambunctious old-vine wine is juicy in blackberry and a taste of tar, full-throttled in terms of intensity. White pepper and cinnamon specks provide a spiciness on the palate as the tannins settle in, making way for a fine, leathery finish. Clay Mauritson helped make the wine.
Product size: 750ml