2012 Beekeeper "Black Sears Vineyard" Howell Mountain Zinfandel

SKU #1173151 95 points Connoisseurs Guide

 Over the past several years, Beekeeper Zinfandels have consistently ranked among our very favorites, and the winery's first bottling from the renowned Black Sears Vineyard follows form and takes a place at the head of the class. It is an enormous wine of great depth and richness, yet it is never outsized or clumsy, and it seamlessly marries lovely oak to its wonderfully well-extracted fruit. It is highly recommended for its varietal purity and focus, but it earns an extra round of applause for its very serious and ageworthy structure, and pulling its cork before at least four or five years have passed would be nothing short of a shame. Be forewarned, however, this is no mild and meek Zinfandel.  (9/2014)

92 points Wine Enthusiast

 Nicknamed Black Bee, this hearty, rambunctious old-vine wine is juicy in blackberry and a taste of tar, full-throttled in terms of intensity. White pepper and cinnamon specks provide a spiciness on the palate as the tannins settle in, making way for a fine, leathery finish. Clay Mauritson helped make the wine.  (11/2016)

91 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

 Bright purple. Displays deeply pitched dark berry preserve, licorice and floral scents, along with smoke and vanilla qualities and a hint of mocha. Sweet and expansive on the palate, offering intense blueberry and cherry liqueur flavors and a touch of fruitcake. Energetic and spicy on the powerful, persistent finish, which features supple tannins and a persistent floral element.  (6/2014)

Wine Spectator

 Dense and concentrated, with notes of currant, mineral and smoky mint. The tannins are massive but ripe. Best after 2017. (TF, Web-2015)

K&L Notes

Beekeeper Cellars crafts distinctive Zinfandel, made from premier hillside vineyards. Black Sears Vineyard is located at 2,400 feet on top of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. The vines are dry farmed and also farmed organically, with biodynamic practices. Optimal conditions in 2012 provided even ripening and it will be considered a great vintage, especially for Black Sears. The wine, which is 99% Zinfandel and 1% Petite Sirah, was aged for 15 months in French oak (30% new) and is unfined. From the producer's notes: "A dark ruby colored wine from rim to rim with a nose of spicy cracked black pepper, cold steel, graphite, dried herbs, violets, wild berry and dark plum, and hints of salted caramel. The mouth is rich, endowed and pronounced; with broad structure, ample tannin, and power, yet balanced within its large frame." A Cabernet drinker's Zinfandel!

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Price: $74.99

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- The bid to name Zinfandel California's "State Varietal" may have failed, but this red wine grape, grown extensively in California since the mid-1800s, is grown in few other places in the world. Sadly, much of what's cultivated today is planted where it's too hot and flat. But when planted to well-drained, hillside vineyards that are warm but not too hot, like those in Sonoma County's Dry Creek Valley and Amador County in the Sierra Foothills, Zinfandel can produce wines with plenty of character. High in natural alcohol and tannin, grown carefully it can be rich and complex, with dark fruit berry fruit and peppery spice. The most known example of Zinfandel outside of California is Italy's Primitivo, which can be similar in style, but is often a bit lighter and less alcoholic than West Coast examples.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.