…running through the middle and west side of the vineyard are remnants of old stream beds riddled with rock.
Beckstoffer To Kalon is possibly Napa Valley’s most iconic vineyard, in part due to the number of 100-point wines that have carried its vineyard designation. Napa pioneer, Hamilton Crabb first planted the historical vineyard in 1868, and it was acquired by Andy Beckstoffer in 1993, who championed the concept of vineyard designated wines. The rest is history.
The vineyard lies on the western boundary of the Oakville Appellation. Running through the middle and west side of the vineyard are remnants of ancient streambeds riddled with rock, which provides exceptional drainage – ideal habitat for Cabernet Sauvignon. Over the last two decades, we have accumulated ten blocks in this coveted vineyard, with two rare blocks of Cabernet Franc. We consider each block Grand Cru quality.
A wine that is not made every year, the 2021 To Kalon BFD is again a co-ferment of fruit from B block, F block, and D block. The B block is the oldest remaining clone 337 in the To Kalon Vineyard, F block is the younger vine clone 337 and the D block is the only remaining clone 6 in To Kalon (and one of my favorite blocks of Cabernet in Napa.) Each year when we make this, the blocks are all picked at the same time, and what they put off in tons becomes the wine. We don’t have a formula in mind so the percentages change each time we do it. This is aged almost entirely in Darnajou barrels but will from time to time include a little bit of Taransaud T5 barrels. As is typical, this was in the barrel for about 20 months and was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
“The 2021 To Kalon BFD is a testament to why we love co- fermenting blocks and varietals so much. Having worked with each of these blocks as individuals, I know what they taste like and the combination of all their profiles create the classic ‘sum is better than its parts.’ This is intensely fresh, and more of a combination of red and black fruits than the classic To Kalon pure black fruits. The finish is long, framed by firm tannins but still with the classic peacocks tail of the To Kalon Vineyard. This will probably be one of the longest lived To Kalon’s we have made, so a generous decanting (not double decanting) is recommended, to give it enough air to let it really express itself.”
The 2021 growing season began with January, February, and March rains totaling close to eight inches. The groundwater 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.