“In these great, historic vineyards, the total is much more than the sum of the parts . . . People like [TOR winemaker Jeff Ames] seem to do the best job with this fruit.” ANDY BECKSTOFFER
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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.
Our 2021 To Kalon spent 31 days fermenting on the skins. This extra time allowed the tannins to soften and integrate. After a gentler basket pressing, the wine matured for twenty months solely in Darnajou small French oak barrels, 80% in new oak. It was essential to taste at every stage of the winemaking process as many decisions were made based purely on experience and intuition. Bottled without fining or filtration, allowing for maximum development of mouthfeel and texture.
“Ahh the black fruited, opulent, plushy, earthy To Kalon Cabernet…there really is nothing like it. Our 2021 shows its classic profile - dark fruited, with notes of blackberry, currants, black cherries, dark chocolate, and espresso. This vintage reminds us of the best qualities from the 2019 and 2018 vintages: the structure and complexity of 2018, yet the aromatic lift, generosity, and approachability of 2019. Comparable to an offensive lineman who is powerful but smooth and graceful on his feet. While very approachable in its youth, we know it will continue to age extremely well. Its window for drinking enjoyment is long and broad.”
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.