We are excited to announce that we are bringing back our value label Big Hands this year with the release of the 2018 Big Hands Santa Barbara Grenache. It has been five years since we have released a wine under our value driven label — Big Hands. The most obvious question is why haven’t any of these wines been produced? To understand the answer to that question, we must first explain how our wines are crafted.
What goes into Big Hands?
At Beckmen Vineyards, we take pride in making our wines through small-lot production. Each block of grapes is separately harvested, processed, and aged.
Each of these individual blocks possess their own unique flavors based on things like where the vines are planted in the vineyard, the age of the vines, the type of clonal material, how long the wines are aged, etc. When we produce our wines, our winemaking team led by Steve Beckmen blends various percentages of these different lots together to create each wine. So, while it’s easy to understand that our flagship wine Cuvee Le Bec is a blend of four different grapes, our single varietal wines like the Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah are also blends of different blocks of the vineyards. Sometimes, we are left with some excess wine from various blocks that does not fit into the recipe for one of our wines that vintage.
Because of the drought, our harvests were quite lean from 2014 to 2017 so there was not enough residual juice to produce Big Hands. That situation changed in 2018. According to winemaker Steve Beckmen, “2018 was one of our finest vintages ever at Beckmen Vineyards. We rarely experience vintages of this quality and quantity harvested. The perfect weather conditions leading up to and during the 2018 harvest were magical and allowed us to craft wines of the highest quality.” While we could easily sell this excess wine to other wine makers, the remaining wines are just too good to sell in bulk – so we are reintroducing Big Hands.
While Big Hands have many of the same attributes that all Beckmen wines possess, these wines are flavorful, small production wines designed to drink now. Throughout this year, we will be releasing several different Big Hands wines starting with the 2018 Big Hands Santa Barbara Grenache.
2018 Big Hands Santa Barbara Grenache
After blending the 2018 vintage, we had 8 barrels of Grenache from the 2018 vintage that did not fit into the 2018 Cuvee Le Bec blend. We aged the Grenache for a total of 26 months in neutral oak and created the 2018 Big Hands Grenache. Keeping the wine for an additional year in barrel rounded out the Grenache flavors and aromas. The wine is generous and round with big, ripe fruit that remains fresh and vibrant. It exhibits strawberry, black cherry, raspberry, and grenadine aromas and flavors. With subtle hints of pepper and spice, the 2018 Big Hands Grenache is a real crowd pleaser.
Because we utilize the bulk of our grapes in our normal production, production on Big Hands wines is typically limited. For example, the 8 remaining barrels of Grenache produced about 200 cases of wine. Produced from estate grown fruit, Big Hands wines overdeliver at their prices.
Throughout the rest of this year, keep your eyes peeled for new Big Hands releases. Given their value one thing is certain: you’ll need some fast hands to get ahold of Big Hands.