Pilcrow, “Archer & Byrd” Cabernet Sauvignon
Pilcrow, “Archer & Byrd” Cabernet Sauvignon

Pilcrow, “Archer & Byrd” Cabernet Sauvignon

California, United States 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$120.00
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Pilcrow, “Archer & Byrd” Cabernet Sauvignon

It outperforms dozens of Grand Cru Classés, demolishes the majority of Cult Cab labels, and delivers one of the market’s most simultaneously profound, elegant, soil-transparent Cabernet experiences. The answer? Pilcrow’s oh-so-limited gems, which have never exceeded eight barrels. Ask anyone who’s had the rare fortune of tasting a bottle and they’ll agree: This is the very definition of fine wine, and it’s one of the most exciting new labels to emerge in years.

Pilcrow’s 2020 “Archer & Byrd” is the result of an exhaustive Napa Valley treasure hunt that ended at a tiny biodynamic vineyard in the perches of time-honored Mount Veeder. Produced with the lightest and most transparent hand imaginable, this sophisticated and strikingly mineral blockbuster yielded just seven barrels of immaculate “Mountain Cabernet.” It is next-dimension incredible, and you have my personal guarantee that it’ll tug at the heartstrings of those who forever long for the iconic Napa Cabs of decades past. This is your one shot at securing any, so make room in your cellar for up to six bottles because these beauties will evolve for decades.

Determined to produce low-intervention Cabernets with a real sense of terroir, Pilcrow has quickly become a labor of love for power couple Sara and Jonah Beer. They take great pride in seeking out small, distinct, sustainably farmed sites and they struck gold with their initial releases: “Pym Rae” in Mount Veeder—now owned by the Tesserons of Pontet-Canet, who charge $380—followed by “Ghost Block” in the heart of Yountville, which has been organically farmed and privately owned for over a century.

In 2018, the Beers expanded their pursuit of terroir expression to include a new Mount Veeder site: “Hillwalker,” which as of the 2020 vintage, has been renamed “Archer & Byrd” in homage to local conservationists Drs. Archer Taylor and Hasseltine Byrd. This biodynamically farmed vineyard is perched 1,000 feet above sea level, and yet, its vines are deeply rooted in blue shale soils that lined the sea floor 140 million years ago. With the assistance of Google Earth, this link shows the exact location of today’s small-batch gem. 

Utilizing just two acres, Pilcrow’s biodynamic, dry-farmed, low-yielding Cabernet Sauvignon crop was hand-picked and assiduously sorted on September 15th, 2020. After a spontaneous fermentation, the resulting wine was transferred into seven French oak barrels, two of them new, for 22 months. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered, which is an absolute necessity for this terroir-driven style. 

Their third-ever release from this site, this 2020 is a classic mountain Cabernet. If you’re seeking plush, full-bodied, slicker-than-liqueur Cabs, this will not be your cup of wine. Instead, this is a paragon of Napa’s savory and elegant gems from many decades ago, one that has a genuine mark of terroir. In a Bordeaux stem around 65 degrees, it slowly rolls out supple trebled notes of violet, cassis, blue plum, bay laurel, pipe tobacco, huckleberry, black cherry skin, and finely crushed stone. It is full, deeply textured, and chiseled like a sinewy Greek sculpture, all while hovering around medium-plus in body—such is the style of a Mountain Cabernet that’s farmed biodynamically, harvested at the exact right moment, and treated with a gentle élevage. It’s already an impressive feat now but the savory firework show won’t start popping until 2025, and 2030 is when the real magic begins. Open your bottles wisely! 

Pilcrow, “Archer & Byrd” Cabernet Sauvignon

United States


Columbia Valley

Like many Washington wines, the “Columbia Valley” indication only tells part of the story: Columbia Valley covers a huge swath of Central
Washington, within which are a wide array of smaller AVAs (appellations).


Willamette Valley

Oregon’s Willamette Valley has become an elite winegrowing zone in record time. Pioneering vintner David Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyard, planted the first Pinot Noir in the region in 1965, soon to be followed by a cadre of forward-thinking growers who (correctly) saw their wines as America’s answer to French
Burgundies. Today, the Willamette
Valley is indeed compared favorably to Burgundy, Pinot Noir’s spiritual home. And while Pinot Noir accounts for 64% of Oregon’s vineyard plantings, there are cool-climate whites that must not be missed.


Santa Barbara

Among the unique features of Santa Barbara County appellations like Ballard Canyon (a sub-zone of the Santa Ynez Valley AVA), is that it has a cool, Pacific-influenced climate juxtaposed with the intense luminosity of a southerly
latitude (the 34th parallel). Ballard Canyon has a more north-south orientation compared to most Santa Barbara AVAs, with soils of sandy
clay/loam and limestone.


Paso Robles

Situated at an elevation of 1,600 feet, it is rooted in soils of sandy loam and falls within the Highlands District of the Paso Robles AVA.

New York

North Fork

Wine growers and producers on Long Island’s North Fork have traditionally compared their terroir to that of Bordeaux and have focused on French varieties such as Cabernet Franc and Merlot.

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