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santa ynez valley

Are we not men? We are Beckmen!

harvest at beckmenBeckmen – It’s November 17th, and newly-harvested grapes are awaiting their crush.

November 17th.

Pushing blackened opinions about Californians and “ripeness” aside – and Beckmen is hardly considered a prime offender in this regard – I proceed to the last tasting of what’s been a relatively full day on the tourist (rather than wine pro) schedule. It’s nice, at least, to be at an actual winery surrounded by actual vines, rather than in a purpose-built tasting room in a cold warehouse or over-quainted village center.

As closing time approaches, I’m forced to race through the wines. I certainly don’t blame them for wanting to go home (or more likely, in this case, go help with the grapes), but it does make for much shorter encounters – and thus, notes – than I’d prefer.

Beckmen 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley) – Ripe and green, heavy on the gooseberries. Solid.

Beckmen 2007 Roussanne Purisma Mountain (Santa Ynez Valley) – Rich and smooth. Spiced nuts. This wine reeks of confidence.

Beckmen 2010 Grenache Rosé Purisma Mountain (Santa Ynez Valley) – Very fruity. A bit of a bomblet, really. A raspberry neutron bomblet.

Beckmen 2009 “Le Bec Blanc” (Santa Ynez Valley) – Roussanne, marsanne, grenache blanc. Faded grass. Exceedingly simple-minded.

Beckmen 2008 Grenache Purisma Mountain (Santa Ynez Valley) – Spiced bubblegum. A strongly fruit-dominated wine – hello, grenache – that carries right through a fairly long finish. It’s one-note, but it’s a pleasant note.

Beckmen 2009 “Barrel Select Cuvée” (Santa Ynez Valley) – Wonderfully pure fruit. With meat. And tannin. The brevity of what precedes understates the quality: this is a very good, albeit forward, wine.

Beckmen 2009 “Estate” Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley) – Juice. Very acidic (in a good way), but this is more like syrah-ade than it is a wine. I don’t mind, really, but it’s…eclectic.

Beckmen 2008 Syrah Purisma Mountain (Santa Ynez Valley) – Big shoulders carrying heavy tannin, and bending a bit under the weight. A touch weedy. The peppery finish is pleasant, but everything isn’t in sync here.

Beckmen 2008 Syrah Purisma Mountain Block 6 (Santa Ynez Valley) – Dark, sweaty, and dense. Tarred, but definitely not feathered. The finish is distressingly reminiscent of paper turning to ashes.

Beckmen 2008 Syrah Purisma Mountain “Clone #1” (Santa Ynez Valley) – Big, round raspberries. Other than that, it just sort of sits there. I’d think more of this wine if I didn’t know its price.

Blondie’s last hit

Alta Maria 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley) – Were this from a more recent vintage, the appellation would apparently be Happy Canyon. A mix of ripe and green tannin…and if the first thing I write about a wine is a description of its tannin, one can assume they’re prominent…chocolate, and cloves. Note, also, that I haven’t actually mentioned anything in the fruit realm; between tannin and barrel, there’s not much else to this.

Alta Bianca

Alta Maria 2010 Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley) – Grapes. This tastes like grapes. Mixed apples, crisp enough but softening residual sugar (not, analytically, much at all…yet it’s quite detectable), and grapes.

You’re welcomiano

Verdad 2009 Graciano Ibarra-Young (Santa Ynez Valley) – Burnt aromas, tutti-frutti flavors. Are we sure this is graciano? Because it tastes like Purple Nurple (the drink, not the bullying technique). Finishes short and bitter, and ultimately that’s kind of a blessing.

Olivos at the same time

Qupé 2009 “Los Olivos Cuvée” (Santa Ynez Valley) – Syrah, mourvèdre, grenache. Sweat, bubblegum, peppered mushroom. Thanks, varities, for each contributing something. Fairly deft, with good balance. Marred by green-tinged tannin.

Crimson & cripple

Longoria 2008 Tempranillo Clover Creek (Santa Ynez Valley) – 15%. Huge black fruit, round and polished. Wonderful, but it’s a decadent sort of wonder; those in search of restraint will find only a modicum here, though there are certainly much bigger tempranillos being produced elsewhere in the area. (11/11)

Longoria leché

Longoria 2009 Syrah “Vino Dulce” (Santa Ynez Valley) – 375 ml, 18%. Moderate volatile acidity, blueberry, blackberry. Sweet, fruity fun. (11/11)

Brander Harris

Brander 2009 Sauvignon Blanc “au Naturel” (Santa Ynez Valley) – Green, biting sauvignon blanc with some razors thrown in for structural intensity. Yet surprisingly expansive, for all that cutting and slashing. Good? Hmmm… (11/11)

Stolp at nothing

Palmina 2006 Nebbiolo Stolpman (Santa Ynez Valley) – Mocha and blueberry confections with a solid wall of dusty tannin. Really, though, its inability to get one foot out of the dessert tray is sits undoing. A shame, too, as I’ve liked this wine a great deal in the past. (11/11)