B Cellars

Tasted November 29, 2018 by csimm1161 with 125 views

Flight 1 (2 notes)

2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Star Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Rutherford
92 points
Served side-by-side with the 2016 B Cellars Oakville. Previous notes apply, with a near-identical experience to my last. Redder fruit and “fruitier” than the nicely structured Oakville. The Star has flavor up-front, while the Oakville led with the structure and acid. Red and black raspberry core. Some black soil and spice moved up on the back end. A wine worth holding just a bit in hopes it works its way into some muscle. I think this will always be a more plush, fruitier expression, especially when compared to the Oakville.
2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
93 points
Served side-by-side with a 2016 B Cellars Star Cabernet, which was much more fruit driven and showed less up-front structure and acid than the Oakville. Previous notes apply on the Oakville, with black and red raspberry and red and black cherry notes making up the core. The scaffolding leads here, with a pulling acidic grip nicely grabbing ahold of the palate and clamping down on the back end. A really nice cut and frame, with the acid never fully letting up at the moment. A bit of alcohol on the finish. Rides a little high-toned currently.

I was digging the youthful frame on this wine. The mid-palate had a medium weight overall, which showed even "lighter" when next to some of the behemoth Beckstoffer wines. The Oakville begs for a fatty steak at the moment. Hold for another year or two. 93+
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Flight 2 (7 notes)

2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
96 points
A mighty tasty representation of the site, and completely elevated in every respect since I last sampled this in barrel back in February. 10 months ago, this was all about sanguine and bloody butcher block. Currently, with the extended time in barrel and now close to bottling, this is still driven by a good deal of meaty and earthy rich dark fruit, but much more integrated and assembled than before.

Blackberry, black cherry, wet black soil, chocolate, Italian dry salami, and cardamom. The front end is chalk full of extracted fruit, with the periphery elements keeping the core honest throughout delivery. The back end finishes full bodied and ripe. Not to worry, there is focus and frame here too...it’s just a biggin’ in the fruit department, and perhaps one that displays the most raw power among the Beckstoffers in the B Cellars lineup.

Give this meaty monster a year or two once it hits bottle to best continue to come together into a more seamless animal. It’s firing out the flavor for sure. So if you ever get that 2AM after-party hankering for a chocolate covered blackberry pie and a side of Slim Jim jerky, this is your wine!

94-96+ points for now, with certain upside after 2021.
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2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville
98 points
Intense and concentrated without a doubt, but with a sophistication and focus that really showed extraordinarily well this time around. Even more elevated and complex in its showing since my previous experiences. The chocolatey black cherry fruit is fairly massive, but is also able to deliver its core on the palate in a way that oozes unctuousness and simultaneously does so with a purposeful intent. It's deliberate it its effect. Some lovely cassis and spice notes add to even further elevate this beast. A lot of energy here as well, but again, with purpose and exactness.

This TK was bested by a gnat's hair by the B Cellars Dr. Crane Cabernet Sauvignon, which was just other-worldly in its stature and complex flavors. Once bottled, hold the TK for a couple of years. These wines need just a bit of short term cellaring to develop their senses of direction and seamlessness. Best after 2021. 98+ for now.
2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Barrel Selection Beckstoffer Bourn Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
94 points
A tad darker and more plush than the 2015, the B Cellars 2016 Bourn shows a bit of reticence at the moment, sauntering up on its attack with a more medium-bodied delivery overall. Mid-palate was weighted well, but it rode a little lighter on its total density and concentration. It washed quickly over the sides of the palate instead of melting slowly. Viscosity was a thinner, with the mouthfeel somewhat willowy.

The flavors were indeed all there though, with black cherry, plum, vanilla, and some spice. The structure and weight mimicked much of what the 2016 Oakville displayed, except that the Bourn showed less acid.

93-94+ points. A worthy wine to be sure, but one I found got lost in the overall shuffle amongst the massively endowed BTK, LPV, and Cranes in the lineup. Where the other Beckstoffer wines need time to develop some ultimate seamlessness, the Bourn will need time once in bottle in hopes of fattening up. It kinda has that Machinist Christian Bale sucked-up shoulders thing going on right now. Hold 2-3 years.

PS: The Bourn followed the TK in the tasting. Tough act to follow. It really didn’t have a fighting chance in that regard. Those who experience the other Beckstoffer wines to being too full-throttled may find more pleasure with the Bourn.
2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
99 points
The best showing from this wine to date. Previous notes apply; but with this go-around, it was displaying even more power and intensity than the sample I had last month. Yet, even with all of that sheer intensity and barrages of powerfully ripe black, blue, and dark red fruit racing up the front end of the attack, there is complexity, with wave after wave of energetic and uplifting flavors studiously undulating in the mouth. As with the BTK, there is a deliberate execution in the way the delivery unfolds. Fascinating black earth and dark spice notes also play perfectly off of the fruit, even for such a youthful wine.

Full-bodied any way you look at it, with a crazy elevated vivacity that matches the monstrous fruit in a way that still creates balance and an even distribution of flavor. The finish is absurdly long; a hair chewy on the tail end, with the black notes making the final statement.

98-99+ points. My favorite in the lineup, just inching past the BTK primarily due to the Crane’s extra injection of voluminous flavor. Once this is bottled shortly, give it at least a year to settle into itself. An amazing effort.
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2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
98 points
Up there with the B Cellars BTK and Crane Cabernet Sauvignon, the Las Piedras delivers with gorgeous black fruit, signature black asphalt, charcoal, and black rock notes, as well as supplementary flavors of dark clove and anise. Holding on a bit more to its grippy frame than its siblings (who had no shame flaunting their power and intensity right at go), this LPV showed a sophisticated slow burn. Less overtly bombastic than it was when I last sampled it back in February.

Still massively full bodied, but unfolding in a way that gave credence to its restraint, with a perfect amount of grip and acid providing a nice overall package to wrap around the dark, brooding fruit. Certainly less monstrous feeling in the mouth than the BTK and Crane, but perhaps even a little more fascinating from a cerebral perspective. I appreciated the thought that this won’t just end up as an overly ripe expression of LPV, but instead may also fall in line with some of the greater, more complex LPVs out there. This is ultimately shaping up to be a fine representation of the site.

Give it two years+ once it is in bottle. 97-98+ points for now.
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2016 B Cellars Cabernet Franc Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard USA, California, Napa Valley, St. Helena
96 points
Black cherry, cassis, red and black raspberry, vanilla bean, baking spices, and a huge bouquet of violets thrown in your face with the force of an ex-wife with a restraining order.

An absolutely stunning wine with so many fun and fascinating flavors bouncing around the palate, but for the fact that the alcohol and floral notes are currently fervently competing for attention with the core fruit. This sample showed a bit of an unresolved Crane Franc, with time certainly needed to get all the instruments in the orchestra tuned-up and its members to start learning the sheet music. The talent is undoubtedly here, but the skill needs to be refined just a touch.

In essence, once the alcohol and heavy floral notes (which imparted a slight bitterness on the finish) integrate more, this wine will surely be a worthy follow-up to the 2015. Hold for three+ years once this gets into bottle. 95-96++ points in its current state. Expect this to leapfrog in points once it hits its stride.
2016 B Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Heritage Beckstoffer USA, California, Napa Valley
95 points
As before, the Heritage took on much of its overall profile from the characteristics injected from the Missouri Hopper site. A hefty amount of meaty and earthy fruit, with a chewy charcuterie element that at times elevated the tiers of flavor, but also distracted from the otherwise beautifully haunting dark fruit. Medium-to-full bodied, representing a more throttled-back version of the Missouri Hopper (by comparison at least - keep in mind, all of these B Cellar Beckstoffer wines are immense in their current states).

Hold the Heritage for a couple of years once it gets in bottle. As with the MH, I hope a little time to better integrate some of its butcher shop qualities will serve well for the Heritage. 95+ points.
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