July 26, 2009

Beckmen Santa Ynez Syrah #1 Clone 2004

We went to a tasting at Acker Merrall & Condit in Manhattan featuring 2004 vintage wines from France, California, Italy, Australia and Spain. Included were tastes of 2004 vintage cabernets, red Rhone varietals, pinot noir, chardonnay and tempranillo.

We really enjoyed the Beckmen Syrah Clone #1 from the Purisima Mountain Vineyard (we also like their Grenache and other Rhone varietals) and since the wine was on sale for $30 (usually about $45 in the NY area) we picked up a bottle. Although $30 is not necessarily cheap, 2004 vintage wines are hard to find now (and some of the wines in the tasting topped $100 per bottle!).

Beckmen's reds and whites coming from the Santa Ynez Valley are consistently good year to year. The Syrahs are always winners, including the #1 Clone from 2004, bottled unfined and unfiltered.

Upon opening, the deep red wine (almost purple) had aromas of rich, red fruit like a fresh pie hit you, but not in the candied way some cheaper or lesser quality California wines might have. Although it is ripe in style with a little raspberry jam and dark plum, this plush, concentrated and full-bodied wine has integrated and round tannins with subtle spice, pepper and resin to balance the sweetness.

A few years of bottle time has made this wine even better. Most ripe wines tend to die out after a few years but this has not.

We suggest letting this open up a little bit if you can find one, but who can wait? This is a delicious wine that is not over the top, even at 14.8%. Too bad we didn't pickup a second bottle for down the road.

Beckmen Vineyards is located in Los Olivos, CA.

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