The quality of this vintage will have you wishing the production wasn’t quite so limited. To Kalon is always a star-maker, and 2018 brought the magic in spades. Winemaker Jeff Ames suspects this will be in the running for the best wine thus far from this hallowed site, with all the classic black fruit, earth, and mint dialed up to eleven. Not to be missed.
Proprietor Tor Kenward and his winemaking team, led by Jeff Ames, have been crafting world-class wines at this eponymous estate from its inception. Tor’s 30+ years in the Napa wine business have afforded him relationships with the sort of growers who have lines behind golden velvet ropes begging for their grapes. It pays to know where the valley’s greatest terroirs are in the Napa Valley. Robert Mondavi sited his winery smack in the middle of To Kalon because he, father Cesare, and brother Peter all knew how great the grapes were for Charles Krug in the 1950s. Starting in the 1970s, Andy Beckstoffer began studying and acquiring the finest terroirs in the valley, and strongly advocating for vineyard designation. And of course Tor Kenward, as an executive for Beringer, knew which sites were the most powerful contributors to Beringer Private Reserve Cabernet. Tor has an insider’s knowledge and a rolodex that newcomers simply can’t buy. This is why the wines of TOR are so important to us, and why they demand your attention.
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon is going to flirt with perfection and is a heavenly barrel sample. This inky colored effort offers powerful notes of red and black currants, cassis, flowery incense, graphite, and exotic spices. Deep, rich, powerful, and uber-full-bodied, it nevertheless stays flawlessly balanced and elegant.
This comes from B, D and F blocks among Beckstoffer's sections of To Kalon vineyard, all of which sit atop ancient riverbeds. The vines are strictly managed to one cluster per shoot, which I think made all the difference in 2018. This barrel sample of the 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon gives a very deep purple-black color, opening with an earthy/meaty nose of mossy tree bark, wild fungi, fertile loam, chargrill and aged beef over a core of Black Forest cake, baked blackcurrants and warm plums with a waft of cigar box and wonderful floral nuances emerging with coaxing. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is packed with muscular black fruits and earthy accents, framed by firm yet beautifully ripe, fine-grained tannins tannins, finishing epically long and fantastically fragrant. WOW!