Andy Beckstoffer farms 89 acres of the To Kalon Vineyard, in the Oakville District of Napa Valley, with blocks planted to Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. The low-fertility soils composed of gravelly loam and the close vine spacing conspire to produce small, concentrated berries that yield fragrant, powerful, and long-lived wines.
A few dozen wineries source this fruit for icon Cabs, including Alpha Omega, Carter, Paul Hobbs, and Schrader. Cliff Lede, whose own estate vineyards lie across the valley in the Stags Leap District, started working with the Beckstoffer Cabernet Sauvignon in 2012 to make a varietal wine; this bottle is part of the inaugural release.
Its robe is a dense ruby-garnet color, nearly opaque, and emits a heady perfume of black and blue fruits, blue flowers, and Cabernet’s hallmark green herbal accents (oregano, rosemary). The body has an earthiness, too, a woodsy suggestion of tobacco and cedar that mingles with concentrated plum skin and black cherry. The finish is sparkled by glittery acidity and smoothed by powdery, fine-grained tannins, with a departing streak like pencil lead: minerally and stony and cooling.
Overall this is a complicated wine, muscular but with fine lines and filigree, and while it’s pleasant now it’s certainly still a child, with the ripeness, concentration, and French oak élevage suggesting it will age purposefully and well for ten years or longer.
14.8% abv | $165 (sample) | 465 cases made