“When drinking water, remember the source:” an old Chinese proverb that could apply to wine as easily as water. Located in what used to be St. Helena’s “Chinatown” in the 1920s, Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard sits in a small, residential neighborhood on the west side of town, an unassuming site bordered by an old riverbed and a rock quarry. The vineyard was originally planted in 1858 by San Franciscan Dr. George Belden Crane; today it is owned by Andy Beckstoffer, who replanted it to multiple clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc in 1998. Its soils, primarily bale loam and river wash, are extremely rocky and well-drained, and its warm, valley floor microclimate lends itself to the Bordeaux varietals grown here.
With interesting parallels to Chateau Haut-Brion, Beckstoffer Dr. Crane is undoubtedly one of the finest vineyards in St. Helena, and its wines are unmistakable. “You know it when you smell it,” says Winemaker Benoit Touquette. “Dr. Crane has everything you look for -- minerality, complexity, excellent fruit definition, good tannin structure; a complete wine with many layers.” Realm sources from four blocks in Dr. Crane for a wine that is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 6 blended with a small amount of Petit Verdot.