America’s most renowned wine-making region, Napa Valley, is home to some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the world; but not all of them have six heritage vineyards to their name, like Beckstoffer Vineyards does. In 1973, its founder, Andy Beckstoffer, completely changed the region’s grape growing system and brought new life into his historic vineyards, making world-class, coveted Napa Cabs with a completely different taste profile than those that came before, shifting in 2000 from a Bordeaux-style to a Burgundy-style wine. Wine Access’ Vanessa Conlin, Master of Wine, caught up with Andy at his Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard in Oakville, where he discussed what makes his vineyards so special, how he revolutionized the Cabernet Sauvignon market by focusing on terroir to produce a more unique grape, and the idea of further classifying Napa wines with a system similar to the Grand Cru system from France. Here, we share Wine Access’ tasting notes for each of the five Beckstoffer Wines, and below is the full interview with Vanessa and Andy.Click here to purchase/get more details on each of these wines, available now for delivery from the Wine Access site.
2017 PURLIEU BECKSTOFFER TO KALON VINEYARD CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA VALLEY
Dense, opaque, and purple. Shy at first, the wine opens to reveal blackberry preserves and crème de cassis fruitiness, with supporting aromas of vanilla, clove, toast, baking chocolate, and allspice. Muscular and highly packed, but light on its feet and not too heavy, it shows the classic supple tannins and black currant flavor for which To Kalon is known, rounded out by integrated notions of mocha and baking spice of high quality cooperage. Drink now – 2040.
2016 AMICI CELLARS CABERNET SAUVIGNON BECKSTOFFER MISSOURI HOPPER VINEYARD
Bold and rich in color with a dark ruby core. A collection of spices jump out of the glass wrapped in berry compote. A generous mouthfeel signature of the Missouri Hopper Vineyard with elegance and masculinity with notes of dried tobacco, dark chocolate and five-spice, giving way to a lengthy finish.
2016 KRUTZ FAMILY CABERNET SAUVIGNON BECKSTOFFER GEROGE III VINEYARD
Deep ruby with a tinge of purple on the rim. Violets and lilacs dance around a meaty and bold spice-driven plum festival. The mouthfeel is rich and robust with cassis and plenty of dark fruit with muscular tannins.
2016 JANZEN CABERNET SAUVIGNON BECKSTOFFER MISSOURI HOPPER VINEYARD NAPA VALLEY
Dark opaque purple-black with ruby highlights at the rim. The wine’s anchored around a densely-concentrated core of black fruit, loads of warm black currant, crushed blackberry, and black cherry. The nose shows a lot of sophistication in notes of Oscuro pipe tobacco, new leather, black licorice, bay leaf and a kiss of smoke. There are notes of dried herbs, spice box, and Madagascar vanilla in the backdrop as well. On the palate, the wine reveals more volume with about an hour in a decanter, and could easily be open overnight, becoming more revealing and supple with time. Full and rich, this wine satisfies all the boxes for an extraordinary glass of Napa Cabernet. Drink 2022-2035.
2017 FAIT-MAIN CABERNET SAUVIGNON BECKSTOFFER LAS PIEDRAS VINEYARD
Deep and elegant ruby core with a hint of purple. Loaded with bold notes of violets, black fruit, and fresh roasted espresso beans characteristics of this highly acclaimed vineyard. Rich, rounded and generous with layers of Chinese five spice, meaty and muscular from start to finish.