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Beckmen TJ syrah TLB

Syrah, Our Signature Grape

Posted: Jun 29, 2023

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.

Beckmen2018 Q3 0051
Our certified biodynamic Purisima Mountain Vineyard, located in the Ballard Canyon AVA.

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.

Beckmen PMV B6 Syrah
Purisima Mountain Vineyard's 17 acres of Block Six

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.

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