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Napa pioneer Dr. George Belden Crane originally planted Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard in 1858. Acquired by Beckstoffer Vineyards in 1997, the vineyard’s pure rock to gravelly loam soils were replanted in 1998 to multiple clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Just south and on the west side of St. Helena, it borders a rock quarry, which defines our block, planted to the rare, and shy yielding Clone 6 of Cabernet Sauvignon. Dr. Crane grapes are offered to a small number of premium producers who craft them into some of the most sought-after wines in the Napa Valley.
Our 2021 Dr. Crane was fermented in a single 4-ton closed top tank for 13 days on the skins – and the extraction of color and flavors, profound. After basket pressing it was aged in 100% new Taransaud French oak barrels for 20 months, with 50% being aged in the elusive Taransaud T5 barrels. The “T5s” are five-year, dry-aged, and hard to acquire. As always, we continually tasted throughout the winemaking process, but this wine was complete from the beginning…Bottled without fining or filtration allowing for maximum development of mouthfeel and texture.
“Our 2021 Dr. Crane shows the incredibly distinct profile that this vineyard provides. Aromatics open with wet river stone minerality (think Pessac in Bordeaux mixed with Napa) showing off its old world meets new world nature. The palate is silky yet powerful, providing unmatched complexity with each sip. With tons of spice, earth, cloves, wild berries, and dark stone fruit, this wine leaves our senses yearning for more. With a little air it unfurls the power it is holding in reserve. Only four barrels were made of this wine…savor each drop.”
The 2021 growing season began with January, February, and March rains totaling close to eight inches. The ground water led to more canopy than the previous warm 2020, but all our sites are well drained and did not require significant canopy management. The summer was dry and uneventful. By harvest, the clusters were uniformly small, providing high skin to juice ratio, giving us wines with structure wrapped around a core of dense fruit. In the barrel, these wines evolved slowly gaining momentum and complexity over the 20-month elevage. It is an outstanding vintage from any vantage point.