Schrader Old Sparky Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Comprised of the finest barrels from our cellar, the Schrader Old Sparky beautifully displays the excellent qualities of clones 4, 6, and 337 from the Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard. The wine reveals incredibly ripe black fruits especially blackberry and blueberry mixed in with notes of espresso roast and dark chocolate. What the Old Sparky does so beautifully is put on display such wonderful fruit notes while not providing a weighty mouthfeel. The well-woven tannins give great balance to the intense fruit core and display this wine as a powerful and full bodied cabernet with the tender balance that we know and love.
In 2013 the grapes enjoyed month upon glorious month of effortless sunny days followed by clear, cool nights. Warm spring temperatures gave way to an early budbreak and the consistent, dry weather afforded an optimal fruit set. The favorable conditions seamlessly continued through the summer and we faced none of the rogue heat spikes or rain threats that might otherwise challenge a strong vintage. Once in barrel, the wine continued to develop and gain profound flavors that led to winemaker Thomas Brown stating “These are the finest wines I have ever made.”
Originally planted by pioneer Hamilton Crabb in 1868, To Kalon – meaning highest beauty in Greek – is a noble “first growth” estate in Oakville that has established itself as the preeminent source of Napa Valley’s finest grapes. The vineyard is defined by gravelly, eluvial, loamy soils that offer high mineral content and exceptional drainage for the vines. The north-south planting orientation and prime mid-valley location provide optimal sun exposure by day and cool coastal breezes at night that make it the perfect growing environment for Cabernet Sauvignon.
Rated 100 The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Old Sparky, which is essentially made from clone 4 from two separate blocks, clone 6 and clone 337, is another perfect wine from the Schraders. I suppose it’s a little boring to say, and perhaps I can be accused of creating unrealistic expectations on the part of readers, but this is as great as Cabernet can be. Tasting like a first-growth Pauillac, the wine is opaque purple and has a fabulous nose of lead pencil, spring flowers, blueberry and blackberry and the telltale cassis. There is also some licorice and sweet oak, the tannins are ripe, and the wine full-bodied. Built like a skyscraper, with an incredible finish (like most of these wines) going on for 50 seconds to a minute, this amazing wine should still be drinking splendidly well at age 25 or 30.
— Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate
Rated 96 Bold and powerful, with an explosive burst of juicy red and black fruits shaded by licorice, spice and oak details. Shows a wonderful sense of harmony and finesse. This is captivating, ending with firm tannins. Best from 2020 through 2036.
— James Laube, Wine Spectator
Rated 98 A wine with wonderful definition and length. Very fine-grained tannins. Full-bodied yet compacted. Shows blueberry, rosemary, lavender and stone character. Terra-cotta. Pretty blend of top To Kalon vineyard of Schrader. Shows balance and length.
— James Suckling, Jamessuckling.com