2022 Bedrock Wine Company, Zinfandel, Beeson Ranch Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County.
The utterly gorgeous and perfumy Bedrock Beeson Ranch Zinfandel, with its hundred year old vines, concentrated dark fruit core and spicy note, is very impressive and really hits the spot for me, I find it one of Morgan Twain-Peterson’s most distinctive efforts, a sleeper in his awesome lineup and a pure Zinfandel that really shines on its own, but also balanced enough to be fine companion to many cuisine options. This vintage, much like the 2021, which I was thrilled with as well, has a weighted aromatic quality and the bouquet lifts from the glass with cut wild flowers and a striking incense note that really intrigues me and the palate, while full bodied and ripe is not heavy or ponderous in any way with pretty supple tannins holding things together and a surprising burst of natural acidity given the heat spikes that seem to mark the vintage in certain regions. The mouth is lush, seamless and juicy with black raspberry, wild plum, red currant jelly, kirsch, along with some brambly, lightly peppery spices, minty sage and dried herbs de Provence and a hint of loamy and dusty earth. The wood usage is on the subtle side too, again much more to my taste and this wine is really quaffable and comforting. The Beeson Ranch, as noted here, is located in the Dry Creek Valley AVA, is a steep western site that was planted well over a century ago on the quartz laced marine sediment soils, it sees those hot Summer days, but gets a nice night time cooling influence that provides fabulous overall balance, as this vintage shows. This stony old vine vineyard, with its mix of igneous and metamorphic rock makes for a Zinfandel, that winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson says, has both luscious and hedonistic weight and fine elegance, all of which again, I find very compelling and seductive.

The Beeson Zin saw a combination of oak aging vessels, with Bedrock having favorite barrels for Zinfandel, as well as their Grenache and even lighter weight Syrahs, which see 500 and 600 liter puncheons and demi-muids, with the winery noting, that these larger barrels retain freshness with a limited oak and oxygen impact, feeling that this helps preserve the fingerprint of origin in the wine better. Again as mentioned in prior reviews, the winemaking at Bedrock, and under Morgan Twain-Peterson, relies less on dogma and more about what the vintage and vineyard needs to best show itself and with Zinfandel, it was once thought you’d always de-stem the grapes, but Twain-Peterson has used some whole cluster to great effect here. Typically Bedrock have never used whole-cluster on Zinfandel, Morgan says, and that like most things thought to be verboten, it turns out that whole-cluster, used during fermentation, can be delicious and fun in Zinfandel too! As anyone who’s enjoyed these Bedrock wines can attest to, and when done well, as Morgan continues, whole-cluster can amplify perfume, increase structural complexity, lower alcohol in the finished wine (stems absorb some ethanol), improve fermentation health by controlling temps, and increasing a wine’s overall character. Twain-Peterson warns that this doesn’t always make sense and the drawbacks can include stem bittiness, leading to green flavors, adding too, if used for pure carbonic maceration, the whole cluster can, he says, potentially overwhelm the wine with the bubble gum/banana Runts character. The Zins, like this Beeson, which sees mostly neutral oak to promote transparency and fruit density are wonderfully expressive, as Bedrock continues to experiment with whole bunches in the maceration(s) to make the wines even more thrilling! Bedrock keeps getting better and better and I am enjoying watching them explore more historic vineyards and these wines are continuing the evolution of California wine.
($45 Est.) 94 Points, grapelive

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