Schrader Cellars, Beckstoffer Original To Kalon Vineyard 2001
This wine has more than a little historical significance, as it was the first to bear the name ‘To Kalon’, one of Napa’s greatest terroirs but also a trademark of the Robert Mondavi Winery. Schrader’s decision to put those words on the label provoked a law suit, but the winery’s right to do so was confirmed in the settlement—important recognition that To Kalon is a place, not merely a brand. So it was a special bottle to try. At its fifteenth birthday the wine is fully mature, with a ruby-black hue and a complex bouquet of black cherry, kirsch, tar and rich spice, introducing a full-bodied, supple palate impression with good balancing acidity and melted tannins. Age has mellowed some of the mid-palate amplitude that the Schrader wines typically display in their youth, but it retains plenty of juicy fruit as it settles into its plateau of maturity.
Taster: William Kelley