2018 Lithology 'Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard' Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley


Jeb Dunnuck thinks this could be “the wine of the vintage,” calling it “another incredible wine from this estate that has everything.” Surprisingly approachable for a wine this massive, with its full-bodied richness, stunning complexity and flawless balance, this will continue to evolve over the next 30-40 years. Pick up a bottle to drink and one to tuck away – this is an investment-wine collectors are sure to fight over in the future.

When he decided to establish a family domaine in his own name in the Napa Valley, international wine entrepreneur Alejandro Bulgheroni did everything right. The details are simply dizzying. First, he bought a vineyard and winery just south of Meadowood Resort in St. Helena, where Bill Harlan and his team made some of their wines before he moved into new facilities on the west side of Oakville. He hired Jim Barbour, a Rutherford native and veteran of over 40 Napa Valley harvests to manage this Alejandro Bulgheroni Estate Vineyard. Barbour has also been responsible for tending the vines of such luminaries as Hundred Acre, Checkerboard, Gandona, Blankiet, and Grace Family.There would be no question that Bulgheroni would also purchase fruit from Andy Beckstoffer’s jewel box vineyards, such as To Kalon in Oakville, and Las Piedras and Dr. Crane in St. Helena. The winemaking team had to be the best in the world. Bulgheroni hired superstar winemaker Philippe Melka [Dominus, Pétrus] and his onetime mentor Michel Rolland to oversee oenology. Day to day winemaking is handled by Matt Sands, an alum of harvests at Screaming Eagle and Bryant Family. Critical acclaim inevitably followed. In December of last year, Robert Parker scored every 2015 and 2016 Bulgheroni wine above 95, with the 2016 Lithology Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon scoring a potential 100 points.

Cabernet Sauvignon
Philippe Melka
20 months
Oak Treatment:
70% new French oak
Napa Valley
Beckstoffer Dr. Crane
Total Varietal Composition %:
99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc
Alcohol %:
SKU #:
750 ml Bottle

Jeb Dunnuck

Possibly the wine of the vintage, the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard is another incredible wine from this estate that has everything: stunning complexity, full-bodied richness, flawless balance, and incredible length. Revealing a dense purple color as well as Graves-like notes of blackcurrants, cold fireplace, graphite, chocolate, and smoked tobacco, it hits the palate with full-bodied richness, flawless balance, and ultra-fine tannins. Based on 99% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc that was brought up 20 months in 70% new French oak, this thrilling 2018 offers pleasure today yet will evolve for 30-40+ years. Hats off to the team at Alejandro Bulgheroni!


Wine Advocate

The 2018 Lithology Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard comes from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon harvested on October 6. It fermented in oak and puncheon and aged in 75% new French oak. A barrel sample with a deep purple-black color, it is a little closed, opening to reveal pencil lead, cast-iron pan and pain grille scents over a blackcurrant core with wafts of kirsch, wild blueberries, sautéed herbs and charcuterie. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is concentrated and firm with a grainy texture and loads of freshness, very tightly knit and multilayered, finishing mineral-laced.