I never thought I would ever say this, but the Pandemic that forced us all to our homes in 2020, isolated and quarantined, was in fact beneficial in some ways… Without said Pandemic, we never would have been introduced to the joys of the Beckmen Vineyards Futures program.
Just prior to the Pandemic, we took part in a phenomenal event at the Park Square Legal Seafoods. I blogged about it here.
At this event, I had the pleasure of meeting and sitting with Jeff Beckmen, one of the sons of the founder Thomas Beckmen of the eponymous Los Olivos winery, Beckmen Vineyards. It was a remarkable evening and sadly, the last evening I would spend with my friend, Sandy Block, MW. Sandy would pass way during the Pandemic. Truly bittersweet for me.
During the Legal Seafoods dinner, Jeff and I talked about my planning a Library Tasting with Musings to showcase the many wonderful wines Beckmen has produced over the years. Wines were secured and then, on March 9th of 2020, the world shutdown, which put my tasting on indefinite hold.
However, the silver lining was that Jeff introduced me to the Beckmen Futures program, which, during the Pandemic was entirely virtual. We happily participated and the rest, as they say, is history.
Fast forward to Friday, October 6th 2023 and our third Beckmen Futures experience. As is the case, the wines all showed magnificently.
The following are my notes, along with some notable highlights about the wines and their origins.
2022 PMV Grenache Libre
The Grenache Libre is 100% Certified Biodynamic Grenache, sourced from two vineyard parcels on Purisima Mountain in Ballard Canyon – 57% Block #1 and 43% Block #8. The Grenache Libre is a unique wine for Beckmen, as it continues their evolution with bush-trained vines, not unlike the bush-trained vineyards found in Spain and in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This Libre is their third vintage. The name “Libre” connotes the free expression of the vines in a bush-trained vineyard, instead of the usual, controlled approach with trellises.
The two parcels on Purisima Mountain – Block #1 & Block #8
The bush-trained Grenache vines
Lively, vibrant nose with strawberry, lilac, red currant and anise. Bright and youthful. Juicy red fruit on the palate with hints of cranberries and Bing cherries. Medium-bodied with firm acidity and moderate, silky tannins. Good balance considering its youthfulness. Moderate length – dark fruit on the aftertaste. Good potential.
2022 PMV Syrah Clone #1
The Syrah for Clone #1 is 100% Certified Biodynamic Syrah, sourced from the Block #3 vineyard parcel on Purisima Mountain in Ballard Canyon. The Clone #1 vines were sourced from vines planted in 1868 at Best’s Vineyard in Victoria, Australia. Although eight different clones of Syrah are grown on Purisima Mountain, this wine represents their flagship single-clone bottling. It is the twenty-second vintage of the Clone #1 wine. The vines are on a very steep, limestone-laden hillside, featuring two different rootstocks. Old World winemaking techniques are used in the winery with Clone #1 to accentuate the Old World character of the grapes.
Block #3 Clone #1 parcel on Purisma Mountain
The vineyards of Clone #1
Rich, dark fruit nose with black cherry, plum, black currant and tobacco leaf. Youthful palate with dark sour cherry. Full-bodied with firm acidity and moderate tanning. Good balance with a rich, smooth palate. Exceptional length – structured and edgy. Very nice.
2021 PMV Block Six Syrah
Block Six was the first of the Purisima Mountain vineyards to be farmed biodynamically, a process begun at Beckmen in 2002. Officially Certified in 2009, Block Six is the highest block on Purisima Mountain, with vines planted in soils rich in chalky, limestone deposits. All of these factors make the Block Six Syrah the finest of Beckmen’s Syrah offerings.
Block Six parcel on Purisma Mountain
Block Six Syrah
Massive, powerful nose with blackberry jam, anise, plum, dried wildflowers and fresh herbs. Youthful palate with dark, brooding fruit. Jammy, blackberry, licorice. Truly beautiful wine. Full-bodied with firm acidity and firm tannins. Well-balanced. Smooth and built for aging. Long finish with a dark chocolate, peppery aftertaste. Amazingly good!
2021 Purisima Red Wine
Purisima Red is Beckmen’s benchmark wine only produced from their finest vintages. Over the last decade, Beckmen has only made six vintages of this wine, including the 2021. Age worthy, as proven during a recent vertical tasting going back to the original 2001 vintage, the Purisima Red is a very special wine, indeed.
Purisima Red parcel on Purisima Mountain
Purisima Red Syrah
Dense, jammy nose with blackberry, black cherry, cacao and licorice. Youthful palate, dark, massive fruit. Plum, blackberry jam, anise, and menthol notes. Full-bodied with firm acidity and firm tannins. Well-balanced with a very long finish. Stunning with dark chocolate, pepper and tobacco leaf. Another triumph.
2021 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
Beckmen’s focus on Cabernet Sauvignon from the Thomas and Judith Beckmen Vineyard has been a true passion of Steve and Jeff Beckmen. Generally speaking, the Cabernet wines from Los Olivos have never been very highly regarded. Often green and stemmy, the wines have been unflattering of the region. Over many years, Beckmen has persevered and managed to produce award-winning Cabernet from their Block #4 parcel. Interestingly, the soil is gravelly with light clay loam and subsoil, not unlike the soils found in Bordeaux. Could this be a reason why Beckmen Cabernets suggest Bordeaux?
Block #4 parcel
Estate Cabernet Punch Down
Deep, dark fruit nose with menthol, eucalyptus. Jammy, black cherry fruit. Full-bodied with moderate acidity and firm, well-integrated tannins. Well-balanced. Black cherry – juicy with mint, menthol, cacao and tobacco leaf. Long finish – chewy. Lovely – Age worthy. Magnificent.
The 2021 TLB is Beckmen’s fifteenth vintage of this beloved wine. The wine is a field blend of the best Cabernet and Syrah grown on the Thomas and Judith Beckmen Vineyard. The wine is named for the founder Thomas Laurence Beckmen an is the wine he dreamed of creating when the winery was first established. The grapes come from Block #3 and again are grown on gravelly soil with light clay loam and subsoil. The percentages of the grapes are 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Syrah.
The Man Himself – Thomas Laurence Beckmen
Dark and brooding with black cherry, blackberry and herbaceous notes. Full-bodied with moderate acidity and firm tannin. Well-balanced. Black cherry, jammy with cacao and plum notes. Long finish – cherry and tobacco. Lovely and age worthy.
If you haven’t tasted the wines of Beckmen Vineyards, you absolutely should. They are more widely available in the Massachusetts market and they deserve any fine wine aficionado’s attention.