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Salvestrin, “Dr. Crane Vineyard” Cabernet SauvignonSt. Helena, Napa Valley, California 2016 (750mL)

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Salvestrin, “Dr. Crane Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena, Napa Valley, California 2016 (750mL)

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Every year, a handful of elite Napa Valley producers have the honor of culling Bordeaux varieties from the “Dr. Crane Vineyard,” a deeply treasured heritage site owned by legendary Beckstoffer Vineyards. In remarkably short order, these limited Cabernets have become among Napa’s most luxurious, sought after, and highly rated. Over the past seven vintages, Jeb Dunnuck and Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate have delivered a combined 22 perfect scores for wines with the coveted “Dr. Crane Vineyard” name on their front label. And now, as I’m sure you can imagine, just about every top bottling demands exorbitant price tags: Realm Cellars $650; Bevan Cellars $600; Myriad $400; Paul Hobbs $300; Bulgheroni $300; and that’s hardly an exhaustive list. Salvestrin, however, stays far away from those pain-inducing prices by coming in at a jaw-dropping $65. 


The reason? There’s no “Beckstoffer” attached to it. The Salvestrins are one of the few remaining family-run estates with nearly 100 years of Napa history, and they have their own piece of the Dr. Crane Vineyard. They’ve also manually and sustainably farmed it by themselves—another rarity—for the past 80+ years. So, you are certainly welcome to spend 5-10x more on the above-mentioned labels (which are all very good) to secure “Beckstoffer” status, but I’ll be over here investing heavily in Salvestrin’s 2016. This is among the most structured, harmonious, and beautifully opulent single-vineyard Napa Cabernets on the market. It’s easily one of the finest values I’ve witnessed, and it’ll age right alongside the best of them too. 



When you talk about California legacies, two names cannot be ignored: Salvestrin Estate and the Dr. (George Beldon) Crane Vineyard. The latter was planted by one of Napa Valley’s grape-growing pioneers in the mid-1800s and the former is a longstanding family enterprise that started in 1932 when the Salvestrins emigrated from Italy and purchased part of Crane’s original ranch. Following Prohibition, they began cultivating the farm’s existing vines, selling their crop, and building a name for themselves. After decades of backbreaking work and the succession of multiple generations—the fourth is now growing up on the farm—they crafted their first estate wine in 1994. Most impressive of all, their vineyard has been sustainably farmed from the beginning and holistically for the past 15 years. 


Salvestrin’s family-owned parcel in the Dr. Crane Vineyard is comprised of vines rooted in volcanic, gravelly soil that is meticulously de-budded and green harvested throughout the season, resulting in some of the most pristine fruit Napa has to offer. In 2016, their Cabernet Sauvignon, including small portions of Merlot and Cab Franc, was slowly hand-harvested over multiple weeks. After varietal-separate fermentations back at their cellar, the resulting wine was transferred into oak where it aged on its lees for nearly two years in 70% new French barrels. The resulting wine is a powerful, harmonious, and deliciously polished Cabernet Sauvignon.


In the glass, Salvestrin’s 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits an opaque dark purple-ruby core and effuses gorgeously luxurious and ultra-pure notes of lush black raspberry, black cherry liqueur, star anise, blackcurrant, damp herbs, menthol, freshly ground coffee beans, cacao, pipe tobacco, volcanic rock, and sublimely integrated notes of baking spice. This is full-bodied Cab oozes opulence and freshness, expertly tiptoeing the tightrope suspended above excess extraction and alcohol. Truly, the wine’s balance between dark-fruited plushness and textural savoriness blew me away, and it only continued to expand with each half-hour in the decanter. This is mind-blowingly good, and a siren call for those who want Napa luxury without the $300+ price tag. Enjoy in Bordeaux stems after a 30-60-minute decant and save all other bottles for consumption over the next decade-plus. Cheers!




Salvestrin, “Dr. Crane Vineyard” Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena, Napa Valley, California 2016 - SommSelect

  • CountryUnited States
  • RegionCalifornia / Napa Valley
  • Sub-RegionSt. Helena
  • SoilGravelly-Loam
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 89%, Merlot 9%, Cabernet Franc 2%
  • Alcohol14.8%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 70% New

  • CountryUnited States
  • RegionCalifornia / Napa Valley
  • Sub-RegionSt. Helena
  • SoilGravelly-Loam
  • FarmingSustainable
  • BlendCabernet Sauvignon 89%, Merlot 9%, Cabernet Franc 2%
  • Alcohol14.8%
  • OakFrench Barrels, 70% New
  • Temp.Serve at 60° F
  • GlasswareBordeaux Stem
  • DrinkingNow-2031+
  • Decanting30-60 Minutes
  • PairingPan-Seared Flank Steak w/ Chimichurri Sauce & Mashed Potatoes