Pilcrow, “Ghost Block” Cabernet Sauvignon
Pilcrow, “Ghost Block” Cabernet Sauvignon

Pilcrow, “Ghost Block” Cabernet Sauvignon

California, United States 2020 (750mL)
Regular price$120.00
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Pilcrow, “Ghost Block” Cabernet Sauvignon

Last month, it was Pilcrow’s dazzling “Archer & Byrd” from Mount Veeder. Today, we return with their epic Yountville blockbuster. Track down the few lucky recipients who’ve had the rare fortune of tasting Pilcrow’s “Ghost Block” and they’ll tell you: this extremely scarce gem outperforms dozens of Grand Cru Classés, demolishes the majority of Cult Cab labels, and delivers one of Napa Valley’s most profound, soil-transparent experiences. And it’s all thanks to a historic handshake deal seven years ago.

That’s when the legendary “Ghost Block” vineyard—home to Yountville’s most treasured, Certified Organic, privately owned Cabernet Sauvignon—was made “public” by the Hoxsey family for the first time since 1903. It came with strict rules. Just four rows were authorized, and each one went to a single entity: Sara and Jonah Beer’s fascinating new micro-label. Today’s 2020 marks Pilcrow’s fifth release from this iconic site, and the following should be italicized, underscored, and drenched in bold text: just seven barrels were produced, and our modest allocation has never come remotely close to satisfying the ferocious demand. So take what you can, cellar them away for 10-20 years, and revel in the fact that you’re the proud owner of one of Napa Valley’s finest, most authentic Cabernets. 

Pilcrow owners Sara and Jonah Beer define Ghost Block as “a unicorn mountain vineyard that is one-of-a-kind in the Napa Valley.” But Ghost Block lies on Yountville’s valley floor, so how could this be possible? The ancient site was once embedded in the peaks of the Vaca range looming 2,000 feet above, but millions of years ago, a colossal seismic event sheared off one of these mountaintops and sent it careening into the valley below. This is where it subsequently became a large “hill” of exposed tertiary volcanic rock. Today’s vines straddle this very terroir. 

The vineyard, however, didn’t get its name millions of years ago, although its origins are still considered historic for the Napa Valley. “Ghost Block” takes its name after Napa pioneer George Yount, who was the very first to plant vines in the valley back in 1836. Upon his death, he was entombed in a nearby cemetery. The “Ghost Block” vineyard was planted by the Hoxsey family in 1903, and, as legend has it, is said to be “looked after” by the spirit of the man who birthed one of the world’s most renowned wine regions. 

Pilcrow’s four rows of organically farmed Cabernet Sauvignon were hand-picked and sorted on September 10th, 2020—nearly three weeks earlier than the previous vintage. After a spontaneous fermentation in stainless steel vats, the resulting wine aged for 22 months in seven French oak barrels, two of which were new. After blending, it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. Although it’s a little more forward than the firmly structured ’19, this is still a wine in need of a healthy decant (60 minutes or so) before serving. Savor it in large Bordeaux stems over the course of two days. This wine is always about purity and finesse with incredible soil structure to each savory, dark-fruited layer. Framed by fresh acidity and gorgeous, fine-grained tannins, the refined palate is approaching full-bodied and promises to unlock additional depth/complexity over the next 10-20 years. Be patient, and you’ll see why this is always our favorite Pilcrow bottling!

Pilcrow, “Ghost Block” 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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