2016 Montecillo Vineyard Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Zinfandel •Montecillo Vineyard
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Valley
BuzZin' All YEAR Long
A tough WIA to pick dear Operatives, but by popular vote, nothing, we mean NOTHING we saw this past year came with more BUZZ than Beekeeper, and THIS particular one has left us with a NEVERENDING finish, imagine our pleasant shock when we discovered just a tad more to celebrate this vinous triumph one last time today…
This must come from another planet, it’s certainly from where no Zin’s been before and bound to take you there. A Zin to teach all Zins what they should possess, and then some. Could this be Zen AND Zin in one? Hailing from one of the highest elevations in Sonoma County might have something to do with how it captivates the olfactory, elates the palate and dizzies the mind. Or could it be the two brilliant young masterminds behind it, one being an established educator and the other a 7th generation grower? Could it be the birds and the bees? At the very least it must be the bees we thought, as we all swarmed around the bottle, until it was gone…
Deep crimson with bright purple and cherry highlights on the expansive, translucent circumference. The perfume is intoxicating, an alluring amalgam of brambly red, black, and blue fruits with cocoa, savory, and spicy undertones. Once sipped, it turns at once juicy and rich, with seamless texture, quenching balance, umami hints, and the finest tannins. As far as a finish goes, it just does not know how to quit, seamlessly and seemingly looping the circles of delicious fruitiness. There is purity with this so striking that we could not think of any dishes to enhance it, it’s that singular. What we don’t mean by that is a lack of food-friendliness, rather this is a meal on its own, requiring focused attention to fully appreciate the depth.
Previously not available outside the mailing list, this is by far the lowest price one can experience what Beekeeper Zinfandels are all about. Even with our exclusive NEAR HALY OFF deal here though, $40 is still quite a formidable price tag for a Zin. Yet in the big picture, this does NOT drink like any other Zin, it rather takes Zin up to the highest level right next to the finest of reds in the world. In that context, it genuinely is one of the best bargains we have ever seen.
Prominent California wine whiz Steve Heimoff wrote; “I never reviewed Beekeeper Cellars’s Zinfandels when I was at Wine Enthusiast because they didn’t send me samples! I must say how wonderfully each of them shows off the terroir of the vineyard. These are big, voluptuous, heady Zinfandels, and they are picture-perfect exemplars of that style.”
Anthony Berklich of Harper’s Bazaar and foremost luxury lifestyle platform Inspired Citizen, awarded Beekeeper Cellars “Top Zinfandel Maker of 2020” and picked THIS as his favorite of the lineup; “we were absolutely in love with this wine” and continued his raves with; “Do yourself a big favor and place your order today. But, a word of caution, once you’ve had the best, it will be hard to drink anything else. Beekeeper is that rare gem you find that combines just the right quality, rarity and price point to make you want to order it by the truckload.”
All we can add to this kinda praise is DO IT FAST!
Here’s what the wine press has to say:
97+ Points – Connoisseur’s Guide - “Zinfandel is rarely the recipient of the kind of swollen prose and lofty scores that are routinely thrown Cabernet Sauvignon’s way, but we suspect that even the fussiest collector of trophy wines will rethink their opinion of the variety when met with an example as deep and wonderfully well-crafted as the latest Beekeeper is. While very rich and long on exceptionally pure varietal fruit, the wine is already showing uncommon finesse and tailoring, and it is destined to age famously and grow ever more involving over the course of the next five to ten years. It is most definitely a ‘keeper’ and deserves a place in the cellar of every serious Zinfandel devotee.”
94 Points – Jeb Dunnuck - “The 2016 Zinfandel Montecillo Vineyard (there’s 5% Petite Sirah) is a classy, medium to full-bodied, elegant Zinfandel that has lots of classic blue fruits, cedar, and white pepper aromas and flavors. Aged 15 months in 25% new French oak, it has a great texture, terrific overall balance, and is a sensational Zinfandel from this great vintage. Drink 2019-2029.”
94 Points, Editor’s Choice – Wine Enthusiast - “Blended with 5% Petite Sirah and then aged 15 months in all French oak, this is a beautifully made and fun wine to drink, earthy in forest mushroom and grilled meat. The vineyard sits at 1,500 feet in elevation and contributes sizable tannin weight, a worthy companion to the ripe richness of the blueberry cobbler and black pepper at its core.”
Inspired Citizen – Top Zinfandel of 2020 - “Winemakers Ian Blackburn and Clay Mauritson are true talents, and their work at Beekeeper Cellars stands out as producing the very best Zinfandel of 2020. It’s rare that we come across a collection of wine that truly exceeds expectation and elevates a varietal to another level in our heads. This is exactly what Beekeeper has done, and that is no easy task. The Sonoma County based operation focuses on Zinfandel, and the wines they produce are all complex, unique and some of the best we’ve tasted in the world. We’re not the only ones who think so, as Beekeeper’s wines are lauded by wine-specific publications throughout the country.
Zinfandel has received a bad wrap for years, and the duo at Beekeeper Cellars have put in the effort with their Rockpile Vineyard and delicate winemaking, to completely turn the reputation on its head and re-introduce the luxury-minded wine drinker to Zinfandel. Ian and Clay are best friends and they operate in a co-partnership that began with a chunk of land planted in the 90’s. As the vineyard grew and matured, the Beekeeper mantra and mission took shape. Ian runs a wine marketing organization in Los Angeles and has been in the business for over 20 years. The two friends are the perfect duo and its no surprise that the fruits of their labor are so elegant and poignant.
2016 was a great year in Sonoma County and the winemakers recognize this. The near perfect weather allowed for good maturation and created the perfect platform to produce something special. The winemakers tasting notes notice amazing balance and purity along combined exaggerated hang-time and provided profound color saturation. Blue and purple toned fruit skins, fresh cracked black pepper, and broader than normal character and capacity will mark 2016 as an “A+” quality vintage. And, the vintage was aged in French oak. The fact that these two men could create something so special and elevate a varietal that has the odds against it is a testament to their determination. It’s a challenge built for a particular kind of drive, and their shaping of the Beekeeper brand and stellar products is admirable.”
Deep crimson with bright purple and cherry highlights on the expansive, translucent circumference.
An alluring amalgam of brambly red, black, and blue fruits with cocoa, savory, and spicy undertones.
At once juicy and rich, with seamless texture, quenching balance, umami hints, and the finest tannins.
It just does not know how to quit, seamlessly and seemingly looping the circles of delicious fruitiness.
The purity with this is so striking that we could not think of any dishes to enhance it, it’s that singular.
What the Winery Says
- Clay Mauritson, Ian Blackburn, Emma Kudritzki
- 95% Zinfandel, 5% Petite Sirah
- Sonoma Valley, Sonoma County
- Montecillo Vineyard
- 15 months
- Bottling date
- December 13, 2017
- 25% new French oak
- 10 barrels