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Beckmen Syrahs

Jeff Harris Purely Purisima

Photo: Jeff Harris

In a perfect world, you’d be able to launch a ball from the eighteenth tee at Southern California’s La Purisima right into the Beckmen Purisima Mountain Vineyard (though perhaps that wouldn’t be entirely perfect for Tom Beckmen, who might not like golf balls flying into his grapes). You can’t quite do that. But what you can do, and rather easily, is follow your eighteen holes at Purisima’s picturesque course just outside Lompoc with a jaunt over to Beckmen’s well-appointed tasting room in the stunning Santa Ynez Valley. On a sunny day—as most days are in the Santa Barbara area—it’s not a bad idea at all.

While you’re there, be sure to taste two of the vineyard’s top syrahs. The 2005 Beckmen Block Six Syrah ($50) lifts off with aromas of gamey spice and smoke, resolving into an intense plum-and-cherry coil of fruit that recalls syrahs of France’s northern Rhône Valley as much as it does those of the Santa Ynez Valley. The equally good 2005 Beckmen Syrah Clone #1 ($45) is more sun-kissed: Asian spice notes play against the full-bodied blackberry and pepper flavors. It’s rich stuff, worthy of a substantial steak.

Both are suitable ways to drown your sorrow or toast your triumph after the final four holes at La Purisima—one of the toughest and most beautiful closing stretches in golf.

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