2012 Beekeeper "Black Sears Vineyard" Howell Mountain Zinfandel
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.
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.
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.
Dense and concentrated, with notes of currant, mineral and smoky mint. The tannins are massive but ripe. Best after 2017. (TF, Web-2015)
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!