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.”
Aged: 17 months, French Oak (25% new)
Production: 3216 Bottles (268 cases)
Grape / Blend
95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah
Appellation: Sonoma Valley AVA
Vineyard: Montecillo Vineyard
Winemaker's Tasting Note
Montecillo will forever be famous for varietal correctness; this juicy, rich, textural 2015 hillside wine boasts defined cherry, blueberry and plum skin character, with assertive cracked pepper and spice. Beekeeper makes wines that showcase both our high standards and high quality fruit designations. Clay Mauritson and Emma Kudritzki Hall provide day to day winemaking and give Ian Blackburn (aka “chef”) with spectacular wine to blend and study. Unlike other Zinfandel producers, our goal is to showcase a vineyard’s site and Beekeeper style. Our strict grape selection minimizes the jammy character that often masks the qualities of a top vineyard site . Our high-tier aging and blending (Petite Sirah and press fractions) allows us to find the wine's inner “Beekeeper” balance. We use specially chosen French Oak barrels (100% French/ 15 months/ 25-30% new) that add refinement, texture, and nuance that integrate seamlessly by year two. Drink now, or let the wine improve for several years in the cellar and enjoy it until 2025. As usual, the virtue of patience is rewarded with properly aged Beekeeper wines. We also recommend drinking our wines just north of cellar temperature around 60 degrees.
95 Points + 3 Puffs - Connoisseurs Guide
Striking in its depth and a bold, big-boned rendition of serious structure that begs for time in the cellar, the latest from Beekeeper is an authoritative Zinfandel of great substance and strength. Its boundless, blackberry-like fruit is enriched with integral oak and deft touches of sweet spice, and, although not in the least lacking for ripeness, it stays clear of compromising heat. It will not come into its own for a good half-dozen years, and we have no qualms about predicting that it will age beautifully and reward keeping for another decade after that. While a bit different than previous efforts from this winery in that it recalls the extra concentration of a fine Amarone, it is a collectable Zin that takes its usual place among the very best of the vintage.
92 Points - Purely Domestic Wine Report
The nose is bright red berry with notes of sleek spice, gravel, pepper overlayed beautiful ripe cherry. The palate shows beautiful texture, weight and definition. Polished blueberry, accented with cranberry and currant. Drink 2016 – 2023.
92+ Points - Wine Advocate
The medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Zinfandel Montecillo Vineyard has a very serious, rather broody nose of baked black plums and blackberry pie with hints of tar, chargrill, licorice and fertile loam. Medium to full-bodied, the palate sports taut, muscular black fruit and
Product size: 750ml