Connoisseurs Guide 95pts:
(Top Ten 3 Puff wines of the year) Over the past several years, Beekeeper Zinfandels have consistently ranked among our very favorites, and the winery's first bottling from the renowned Black Sears Vineyard follows form and takes a place at the head of the class. It is an enormous wine of great depth and richness, yet it is never outsized or clumsy, and it seamlessly marries lovely oak to its wonderfully well-extracted fruit. It is highly recommended for its varietal purity and focus, but it earns an extra round of applause for its very serious and ageworthy structure, and pulling its cork before at least four or five years have passed would be nothing short of a shame. Be forewarned, however, this is no mild and meek Zinfandel.
Robert Parker's eRobertParker.com 94pts:
Lastly, the 2012 Zinfandel Black Sears Vineyard from Howell Mountain tips the scales at 15.2% alcohol and boasts a production of 350 cases. This is 99% Zinfandel and 1% Petite Sirah from this high-elevation site in eastern Napa Valley. This sexy, deep, full-bodied, luscious wine has a dense ruby/purple color, loads of blackberry, licorice and floral notes, a full-bodied opulence, stunning purity, and a long, heady finish. This Howell Mountain Zinfandel should drink well for decade or more. Kudos to Beekeeper, as they seem to be on an impressive track of quality.
From the winemaker:
The historic Black Sears Vineyard returned my call in Summer of 2012, I was looking for some “famous” hillside fruit to grow the Beekeeper brand and to give our clients another peek at our quality approach. I called many of the famous vineyards, but reputable hillside Zinfandel is highly spoken for and getting really hard to find. Luckily, Black Sears returned the call; our timing was very good. Black Sears Vineyard is located at 2400 feet on top of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley. The vines, planted in the 1970’s are dry farmed (no irrigation) and also farmed organically, with biodynamic practices. Planted on St. George
rootstock, the bud wood came from the Hayne Vineyard in St. Helena (one of Zinfandel’s "Heritage Clones"). The fruit set was huge in 2012, but optimal conditions provided even ripening and 2012 will be considered a great vintage, especially for Black Sears. The resulting Beekeeper Cellars wine is 99% Zinfandel and 1% Petite Sirah. It spent 15 months in French Oak, 30% new. It is un-fined, but gently filtered at bottling.
Tasting Notes: A dark ruby colored wine from rim to rim with a nose of spicy cracked black pepper, cold steel, graphite, dried herbs, violets, wild berry and dark plum, and hints of salted caramel. The mouth is rich, endowed and pronounced; with broad structure, ample tannin, and power, yet balanced within its large frame. Beekeeper Cellars focuses on crafting beautiful Zinfandel, made from pedigree hillside vineyards with distinctive character and quality winemaking techniques.
Wine & Spirits 92 Points First produced by the Wetzel family in 1978, Sin Zin now comes from vineyards throughout Alexander Valley, from the valley floor to the benchlands and...
Wine Enthusiast 89 Points Juicy and soft, this Zin is all about exuberant red fruit and restrained tannins. Full-bodied it also offers elegance with complex highlights of leather, cedar and peppery...
From the winemaker: With the 2013 vintage of Mordecai, we mixed up the program a little bit (again). Instead of roughly even parts Bordeaux and Rhone, we brought Zinfandel from...