Wine Talk

Snooth User: EMark

Beckmen Vineyards in Los Olivos

Posted by EMark, Feb 2, 2014.

Does anybody know anything about this winery?

I was in a store today and picked up a bottle of their Cuvee Le Bec--a red Rhone blend.  For some reason or other, I have seen the Backmen name a few times recently, and, now, I have a bottle to try.  Clearly, this is not a wine that has attracted a lot of attention.  I don't hear about anybody claiming that this a got-to-have wine.  Nor have I ever heard of any high-90s points awarded by any of the high profile points awarders.  For some reason or other, this wine was in my consciousness, however. In doing some quick post-purchase on-line research, it appears that Beckmen wines do get very respectable reviews--88s to 91s.  I paid $16 for this.  So, for that price I'm not going to be disappointed.  

Later this month, we are going up to the Central Coast to visit friends in Los Osos.  I've been looking around for one or two somewhat below the radar wineries to visit on the way home.  This one may fill the bill.


Reply by GregT, Feb 2, 2014.

That particular wine is relatively weak IMHO. However, it's their lowest-priced bottle as far as I know. They are a very good producer; one that you should know better. They do a credible Cab but their main thrust is Rhone grapes and they do them as well as anyone in California. A very good winery IMO and their prices are completely reasonable. The basic Syrah is good enough, but the Clone 1 is even better. I've been tasting their wines for years and just today packed up a few bottles for my move - I was quite happy to find them in the cellar. And he's a good guy as well.

Reply by EMark, Feb 3, 2014.

Thanks, Greg.  Very interesting.  Like I said, for $16 I'm not going to lose sleep if the bottle I bought is not great.  However, based on your comments I will try to drop by their facility and check them out.  I am really surprised that the Cab gets respect.  I am a Napa Valley bigot when it comes to California Cab. 

Reply by Mark Angelillo, Feb 3, 2014.

Emark - are you a Snooth Concierge member? There's a nice offer for a reserve tasting at Beckmen through our nascent "loyalty store" if you're interested. Just saw this thread and figured I'd toss it out there.

Reply by Richard Foxall, Feb 3, 2014.

Well known producer with broad distribution.  Definitely one of the bigger names in Rhone grapes on the Central Coast, along with Stolpman, Qupe, Tablas Creek, some others that escape me.  I bought and enjoyed a rose of theirs some years ago.  I had the blend--probably the same one you bought--and have no memory of it.  Guessing it was inoffensive. In that vein, I really like Bill Easton's Rhone blends at Terre Rouge.  He does one that's higher end, now called Autre, and does a cheaper one called Tete a Tete that's better for my money.  Also a favorite in that realm is the inexpensive ($12-ish) Rubystone from Ventana.  Alas, none of them will equal the old Jade Mountain's Provencale, which had to be Cali appellated because it mixed Napa, Lake County, and Sierra Foothills grapes, but was a better deal on a CdR-type wine than any other Cali wine--at least when I paid less than $10 for it. Just thinking back on those Provencales makes me smile.

My own take on Central Coast Syrah is that it's not lean and tannic enough, more of a warm, fruit bomb-y style. I like my Syrah savory, olives, meat, herbs, and violets.  Which means Central Coast Syrah ought to all be used in S. Rhone blends instead. 

Reply by EMark, Feb 3, 2014.

This is too funny Fox.  Go over to the "Watchcha drinking tonight" thread and see what I just wrote about a Qupe Syrah.

Reply by GregT, Feb 3, 2014.

Funny emark.

I really like Qupe and think their basic Central Coast bottling is one of the best deals around and a Syrah that can compete with many more expensive bottles from around the world. It's vintage-dependent though, so you need to be selective. Their higher end bottlings are more hit-or-miss but can be pretty good when they hit. One of my favorite producers.

Beckmen isn't exactly like them, but it's along the same lines. In other words, not a huge fruit-bomb style. If I recall correctly, they did, or do, a Grenache as well, but it's been a while. I asked about the Cab and he told me that they have to do it because that's what the market wants, but their main focus is the Rhone grapes. So Napa bigot or not, just keep in mind that it's not competing with Harlan!  It's around the low $20s per bottle, so you gotta set your sights there and see what you get from Napa at that price. Steltzner Claret, Raymond, BV Rutherford - all good stuff but all more expensive these days.

Anyhow, you should do the visit if it's on the way. He's good people too - I see him once a year in NYC when he pours for his distributor here.

Reply by napagirl68, Feb 4, 2014.
Reply by EMark, 5 hours ago.

This is too funny Fox.  Go over to the "Watchcha drinking tonight" thread and see what I just wrote about a Qupe Syrah.

Ditto, Emark.

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