Beckman Vineyards Purisma Mountain Syrah Clone #1 Santa Ynez Valley 2003

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The new semester has started and I am finally back in town and able to taste some wine again (Asia is not the ideal place to find a good bottle). I have been very busy with a competetive law moot so it was nice to take a small break and try out a vineyard I’ve been interested in for quite some time. Beckman is situated in central California and has become more and more noticed over the past few years as producing some high quality crafted wines. Beckman is trying to bring some old-world style to the new world. Here’s an explanation from their website: “With high elevations, a unique microclimate and the same rare limestone subsoil as found in the great Rhone region, this vineyard is perfectly suited for producing outstanding Rhone varietal offerings and serves as the source of our exclusive Purisima Mountain Vineyard wines. “

Without having known this before drinking, I definitely had the impression that the wine at least paid tribute to a northern rhone valley syrah, even if I would still describe the fruit as more new-world in style. So, on to the review

The nose was very plummy with a hint of cassis. The aromas carried a nice rich juicy character. With a couple hours in the glass the nose changed more into baked red fruit. The mouthfeel was very silky and well balanced, and the finish had a nice smooth texture.

As for the palate, I found the wine to be a little tart and acidic, especially upon first opening the bottle. I don’t mean this in a bad way, though, but I think the wine would really benefit from pairing with food or cheese to mellow the acidity. Drinking the Beckman felt like drinking a tart rasberry pie and the fruit had a slight, but not overwrought, jammyness. Overall I think the winei s very well made, but while I like it, it is not entirely my style.

However, after several hours in the glass and sitting in an open bottle (I didn’t bother properly decanting this one), the flavours really evolved and the acidity mellowed out quite a bit. The oaky vanillan flavours became more pronounced, which added a nice contrast to the tart fruit. The tannins became more and less expressive over time, fluctuating from very subtle to slightly grippy on the mid-palate. However, they never became overwhelming.

I say kudos to the winemaker for producing such a ‘crafted’ product, and even if it was not entirely my style, I am sure many people would enjoy this a lot.

Very Good to Very Good+ (depending on what style you like)
~$50 (at Marquis)


  1. Burgess Primeaux
    September 24, 2010

    this stuff is horribIe tastes Iike taking a shot of whisky

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