Can you imagine having two distinct Napa Valley Cabernets and one was from the Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard? I was enjoying my time at The Fine Wine Source in Livonia, Michigan and they were having a tasting and presentation of the wine of Arrow & Branch Estate Vineyard. Here is a winery that has all the potential of being a cult wine, because the winery is interesting in making stellar wines and small production. The principal of the company amassed his money in numismatics, fell in love with Bordeaux and is interested in duplicating that Gallic interpretation in the Napa Valley. He has surrounded himself with key people that share his enthusiasm, and the tasting was conducted by his National Sales Manager Brian Wallace.
Brian Wallace began his career in wine as an assistant general manager/sommelier at a private country club in the Midwest and was told to absorb all the knowledge that could be gleaned from Robert Parker’s “Burgundy.” As he acquired assorted multiple certifications, he left the life at the country club and began working in the industry in distribution and he specialized in prestigious allocated brands. He went from representing several small wineries to now handling Arrow & Branch while still maintaining residency in the Chicago area. It was a pleasure to listen to him discuss the brand, and we still had time to discuss other wines, because this old Raconteur does kind of gets off track at time, especially wandering around wines.
The first Cabernet Sauvignon was from the Black Label series. The Arrow & Branch Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, while sounding like any wine from the valley had a dash of Merlot and a couple of dashes of Petit Verdot. The fruit came from the Lewelling and the Criscione Vineyards and carries a St. Helena appellation. This wine was aged for twenty months in French Oak, of which sixty percent was new. The wine was a deep and intense in color, a good nose and dark berry fruits and spice, and the finish was long and supple, and you knew tasting it, that it was not going to be easy to find after the fact, as there was a production of two-hundred-twenty-five cases made. The final wine of the tasting was from the famed and awe-inspiring vineyard that almost requires genuflecting when one comes into contact with it. We ended with the Arrow & Branch Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane 2014. In 1858, the Napa pioneer Dr. George Belden Crane planted what is now referred to as Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard and is located in St. Helena. The property was acquired by Beckstoffer Vineyards in 1997; in 1998 the vineyard was planted with multiple clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc exclusively for Arrow & Branch. The first vintage from this site was 2012. Here is a wine that is pure Cabernet Sauvignon and aged for twenty months in French Oak, of which eighty-five percent was new. A deep purple wine that was hedonistic in its delivery, without being a jammy wine enticing and delivering dark berries and black cherries and a touch of chocolate. I knew it was the last wine of the tasting, so I lingered and played with the wine to enjoy the rich long finish, because I did not want it to end. With only one-hundred-twenty cases produced, if I could have bought some, it would want it to cellar for at least ten to fifteen years and I think thirty years would not be too much to expect from it, if only I could hold out for another thirty. This is a winery that truly requires your attention, if you would like to lay some wine down, to forget about.