Over the past 23 years that we have been producing wines from our Purisima Mountain Vineyard, we have bottled 14 Purisima Red Wines. The idea behind the Purisima Red wine was to produce a limited bottling (around 2 barrels) of our best blocks only from exceptional vintages. The initial bottling of a Purisima Red occurred in 2001, and we have bottled this wine in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019.
In August 2023, we hosted a vertical wine tasting of our Purisima Red Wines, tasting only eight of the 14 wines due to a lack of inventory of every vintage. The first Grenache/Syrah blend wines are terrific and have aged exceptionally well, but the final 100% Syrah wines in the flight were eye opening. Their quality was ridiculously outstanding: dark, powerful, elegant, structured, complex Syrah wines with an amazing ability to age.
For those who couldn’t attend this special tasting event, I’ve compiled my tasting notes for each of these wines below.
2001 | 60% Grenache 40% Syrah
From a legendary vintage in Santa Barbara, the 2001 is a bit tired on the nose, but the ripeness still comes through on the palette where the fruit is still sweet and plump and the acidity still lingers across the palette. This wine is past its prime although a bottle with a better cork would have shown a bit better. The 2001 vintage was amazing and you can still experience what made it so special, ripe, generous fruit and great balancing acidity.
2005 | 60% Grenache 40% Syrah
From a cool, wet, late harvest, the 2005 was always powerful in its structure and tannins. The 18 or so years of ageing have really helped this wine to shine and find better balance. Toasty oak, stewed fruits and hints of grilled herbs on the nose lead to a plush, round mid palette where more red and black fruits and spices emerge, finishing long with big, present tannins that carry the flavor on the back end. The tannins are firm but not drying and still frame the fruit and flavors beautifully. Drink this vintage now and over the next few years.
2009 | 53% Grenache 47% Syrah
Fascinating aromas of game, dried aged beef and stewy red fruits, this wine is peaking right now. Creamy, round and lush on the palette with fully resolved tannins, this big, rich vintage of Purisima is a stand out. Fine structure and good acidity carry the fruit on the long finish which shows more Grenache fruit than Syrah at this time. Drinking beautifully now this special vintage will age beautifully for the next decade or more.
2012 | 53% Grenache 47% Syrah
Bright red fruits, toasty oak, vanilla, baking spices, pepper, and garrigue aromas fill the glass of this vintage of Purisima Red Wine. The flavors are up front where the wine is soft and rounded upon entry. The mouth is filled with complex flavors of dark and red fruits, pepper, vanilla and spice, showing a rounded mid palette and a firm finish where the tannins remain present yet are almost fully resolved. This comes across as youthful still and just coming into its peak drinking window over the next 10 – 12 years.
2013 | 59% Grenache 41% Syrah
A similar vintage to 2012, the 2013 shows similar complexity of flavors and aromas, bright fruits, vanilla, spice and a touch of gaminess. The palette is soft and round yet built towards the back end of the wine when compared to the 2012 which is more upfront. The tannins are soft yet firm on the back end of the wine where the flavors finish long with nice acidity and beautiful lift. This is on the younger side and should continue to age nicely for the next 12 – 15 years.
2016 | 100% Syrah
The biggest wine of the flight, the 2016 is big, bold, dark and intense. Game, roast, blackberry, plum, chocolate and pepper weave their way through the aromas and flavors of this wine. Big and rounded on the mid-palette, the wine firms up on the finish where the tannins and powerful structure help the bold flavors to linger on the massive finish. Still young, yet totally delicious right now, the 2016 will continue to evolve as the tannins continue to integrate into the wine. Should age for 20+ years or more.
2018 | 100% Syrah
From the legendary 2018 vintage, this combo of Block Six and Clone 1 Syrah aged in 100% New French oak barrels is stunning. Not as powerful as the 2016, the 18 balances its depth and power with elegance. The conditions during harvest were ideal and this wine epitomizes the Beckmen Syrah style. Bacon fat, roasted game, plum, chocolate and blackberry aromas are outgoing and concentrated. The mouth is filled with more dark fruit, game, pepper and chocolate flavors that glide effortlessly across the palette. Balanced and juicy on the finish the wine shows the great acidity of the vintage. A stunning wine, it should age beautifully for the next 20 years.
2019 | 100% Syrah
The 2019 vintage was very similar to the 2018 vintage in terms of weather. It was another beautiful season that produced fantastic wines, highlighted by this release. Like all the wines in the flight, there is serious intention in crafting this wine. A clean, pure expression of PMV Syrah, the 2019 shows its savory side a bit more than the 18. Woodsy spice, pepper, cured meats, blackberry and chocolate aromas and flavors are abundant. The wine is round and elegant in the mouth but shows some nice tension on the mid-palette finishing very long with smooth, fine tannins and great acidity. A young wine that is drinking great today, the 2019 should age nicely for 20+ years.