At Beckmen Vineyards, Syrah is our most planted varietal, and that should be no surprise. Ballard Canyon has established itself as the premier Syrah producing area in California, and our 125 acre certified biodynamic Purisima Mountain Vineyard has consistently produced a distinctive crop of Syrah since it was planted in the late 1990’s. The various elevations, microclimates, and clonal selections found in the vineyard provide us with unique opportunities to produce four special bottlings that accentuate the different flavors of our signature grape.
Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah
Our largest Syrah bottling is the Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah. First bottled in 1999, this wine is specifically crafted to highlight the distinct character of Purisima Mountain and Ballard Canyon Syrah. Harvested from blocks spread throughout the vineyard with the most diverse selection of sites, clones, and elevations, this wine is a great introduction to our Syrah wines. The fruit for this wine is harvested from vineyard blocks ranging in age from 10 – 25 years. The grapes are hand harvested and fermented in small lots for 7 – 10 days, drained from tank and racked to barrel where it ages for 16 – 18 months in 33% new French Oak barrels. The distinct qualities of the Purisima Mountain Syrah are its power and ripeness balanced by elegance and grace. Every vintage beautifully displays complex flavors of black berry, plum, chocolate, game, and pepper.
Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah Clone #1
The Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah Clone 1 was the first limited production Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah wine that we produced with the first vintage coming in 2001 (amazing vintage!). In that vintage, we noticed that there were some new aromas and flavors emerging from our Clone 1 Syrah fermenters and thought it would be great to produce a wine that highlighted those flavors. Today, those roasted espresso, smoke, bacon fat, and beautifully ripe fresh blackberry fruit flavors have become hallmarks of this bottling every year. The Clone 1 has a fascinating history dating back to pre-phylloxera French vineyards. Cuttings for this clone moved from France to Australia in the late 1800s, and then to California in the 1970s, and were planted on Purisima Mountain in 1998. Because this clone is no longer commercially available, these wines are collector’s items. Because the two blocks planted with Clone #1 together are a little more than four acres with low average yield of 2 tons per acre, it is always our smallest production Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah produced.
Purisima Mountain Vineyard Block Six Syrah
Planted in 1999, Block Six is the highest in elevation of our Syrah blocks on Purisima Mountain. Consisting of 16 acres of 3 different Syrah clones, the grapes for this wine are usually harvested out of a sweet spot in the middle of the block. Block Six was the first block converted to biodynamic farming at the end of 2002. To keep track of this block versus the rest of the vineyard, we started bottling the Purisima Mountain Vineyard Block Six Syrah in 2003. Our biodynamic “experiment” resulted in some incredibly high quality and distinctive Syrah that has become the benchmark wine in our Syrah program. Like all Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah wines, the Block Six has its fair share of black fruit, chocolate and pepper complexities, but what sets this wine apart is the high concentration of limestone in the soils which leads to greater structure and higher acidity along with a vein of minerality that comes through on the finish of each vintage. The most cellar worthy of all the Syrah wines we produce, the inaugural 2003 vintage is still amazingly youthful.
Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah OWN
The newest Syrah in our portfolio is the Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah OWN, with 2020 being its first vintage. The OWN Syrah highlights the now 12 – 15-year-old Syrah blocks planted to their own roots. While most modern vineyards are planted to grafted plants (the variety is grafted to a rootstock), these vines are planted without grafting where the variety, Syrah in this case, is both the rooting part of the plant and the part growing above ground as well. Since rootstock is the conduit between the fruit and soil, vines that are grown on their own roots are more connected to land. Besides the high quality of the wine from these blocks, the most interesting and important thing we have noticed from these own-rooted vineyards is they require much less water than the grafted vines, a very important development in our drought-stricken area. Crafted in the same way as our other Syrah wines, the Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah Own bottling is the most savory wine of the four, showing more dried, cured meat and game aromas and flavors combined with fine tannins and balanced acidity.
Over the years, we’ve learned that Syrah thrives on our Purisima Mountain Vineyard. The combination of unique soils, elevation, microclimates, and biodynamic farming allows us to produce four different Purisima Mountain Vineyard Syrah wines that offer a satisfying richness and elegance that few red wines can match. Try some today and understand why Syrah is the signature grape at Beckmen Vineyards.