Beekeeper Cellars, Zinfandel, Secret Stones, Rockpile, Sonoma County 2016 – 94+ Pts
About the Vintage:
The 2016 vintage was ideal for most of the Sonoma County, but especially fantastic for Zinfandel. Early bud break with a moderately cool and consistent summer without many heat spikes, allowed for optimal maturation. Color, concentration and purity are off the charts and on behalf of winemakers everywhere - we can all use a few more years like 2016. We think this vineyard intersects with our continued elevation of standards, expectations and believe the 2016 to show really favorably on release but also a long runway for adding complexity, and finesse; which it may lack in it its youth, but will reward patience with with an exceptional bottle of red wine. Optimal drinking window in 2022-2028.
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This is a Northwest facing slope – one of the highest planted peaks in the area. Typically picked about 30 days from the other side of the hill. Planted in 1998, this was an experimental slope that was converted to dry farm in 2009 and achieved CCSF status (California Certified Sustainably Farmed) during the 2012/2013 vintage. The wind blows in hard straight off the oceanhelping to elevate acidity and at the same time keeping the fruit small and concentrated. Extreme growing conditions produce extreme wines and Madrone Spring is an ideal site for Zinfandel. The clusters are smaller, the berries are smaller and ripening is uniform (relative to other sites). Punctuation, power, and persistence are elevated by altitude and the weather extremes but yields tend to be small and this 2.3 acre sight rarely yields more than 2.5 tons per acre. The Petite Sirah at the bottom of this hill maybe some of the best on earth, but its almost all blended into the wine to give us the best vineyard expression possible.
WINEMAKER TASTING NOTES – Not Released Until April
At bottling – the ideal 2016 harvest netted beautiful, rich, deeply defined fruit that enjoyed its time in high quality wood – and it enjoyed being married with Petite Sirah. We achieve the Beekeeper styled through blending both varietals and a selection of the press fractions. 2016 allowed us to be aggressive and apply bigger efforts and required 7 prior vintages to TRUST the TERROIR… let it do what its going to do. I think the resulting wine will be a benchmark for this site. CHISELED stone, cracked black pepper, chewy plum skins, dried underbrush and patented purple crayon (a site specific note) – a bit of T4 wood will take some time to integrate but it will…and when drank in its ideal window (probably 2021 and beyond) I’m certain this will be one of our best efforts.
Grape: 80% Zinfandel & 20% Petite Sirah
Vineyard: Madrone Spring Vineyard
Appellation: Rockpile, Sonoma County
Vintage: 2016 - Bottled December 13th , 201 7
Winemaker: Clay Mauritson, Ian Blackburn,and Emma Kudritzki
Alcohol: 14.9% TA 5.87 RS 1.2
Aged: 15 months. French Oak (25% new)
Production: 4200 (350 Cases)
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