In 2010, the steep and rocky Madrone Spring Vineyard was 12 years old and really showed its wisdom as it enters the prime of its production life. The cool growing season ramped up quickly with a punctuated and dramatic weekend of high temperatures in early October. The resulting wine was made from very low yields of less than one ton per acre and once again showcased the magnificent wine making of Clay Mauritson. The 2010 is extremely nuanced and was a joy to blend. I contemplated the assembly for months and the final composition will evolve to showcase the vineyard’s innate qualities: a spicy core; stoney minerality; pronounced acidity and lavish fruit intensity. A complete wine that has balance, finesse, power, style and gives attention to the long-term nature of the wines of the Rockpile Appellation. I hope this effort continues to convert Cabernet, Meritage, and Rhone fans into accepting Zinfandel as one of the more noble offerings of California. We make this wine with all the attention and quality of the great wines we position ourselves around, and while some may not appreciate the premium effort and costs involved, we are resolved to make great wine that requires some patience and appreciation.
Great wine tells the story of the vintage and complements its natural attributes, showcases vineyard character and winemaking skill, and stays true to varietal character. Beekeeper features exotic spices, dark and intense hillside Zinfandel fruit, and maintains a balance inside its enormous structure that will age for years to come. The color of mixed blacks and ruby garnet gives way to a nose of juicy cherry skins, asian plum and woodsy underbrush. The 11% Petite Sirah expands the wine’s profile and accentuates the Zinfandels varietal spice, pepper and red stone fruit core. The stone ladened hillside vineyard provides firm acidity, layers of textural tannin and innate Rockpile minerality. At the time of release (11.4.2012) the wine had just under a year in bottle and continues to evolve, slowly releasing more intricate nuances and flavors.
Beekeeper was designed to drink well on release, and should hit its potential around 2015 and to age nicely in a proper wine cellar for up to a decade. 109 cases will be sold direct through our website and featured in top restaurant locations; please ask for it by name.
I have worked with wine for most of my life, seeing trends come and go, tasting some of the greatest wines ever made. I know what I like, and what I aspire to achieve. Given my belief that a great Zinfandel can be the ultimate expression of California’s unique wine culture, I am passionate about educating clients about this grape and seeing their eyes brighten as they find out the truth. I enjoy the authentic nature of Zinfandel. It is a part of our history, our culture, our cuisine and a true expression of our climate. My desire is to help lead the way in making Zinfandel a more important part of California’s wine future.
I come from a family of modest, hard-working people who taught me to care for everyone like they are part of our family. From an early age, I learned to respect good people and cherish the time we have together. My father’s parents (The Blackburns) and my mother’s parents (the Pahls) were a collection of entertaining characters that included military men, athletes, entrepreneurs, entertainers, educators, horse thieves and yes, even beekeepers. For this reason, I grew up fascinated with bees and their majestic service to the earth. As this wine is a very personal project, I want to honor my family both past and present; hence, the name, Beekeeper. I bottle Beekeeper to continue my dedication to learning about wine and sharing my knowledge and passion with my many friends, clients and contacts. May we all enjoy the best in life together and savor life’s fragile balance.