Schrader Old Sparky Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Schrader Old Sparky Cabernet Sauvignon 2010


Each year, our iconic “Old Sparky” Cabernet is handcrafted from the finest barrel lots in our cellar. True to the vintage, the 2010 blend shows prodigious intensity, spectacular structure and impeccable balance that are present from start to lingering finish. There are volumes of dark red and black fruit woven with elegant threads of dark berries, currants, mocha and subtle cedar. The most compelling aspect of “Old Sparky” is the wine’s ability to seamlessly partner great power and intensity with elegance and finesse — the proverbial, “iron fist in a velvet glove.”


The 2010 growing season began cool and wet, and by early summer we knew harvest would be delayed by as much as three weeks. Growers around the valley feared the cooler season would not allow the grapes to fully ripen so many, including us, made early thinning passes through the vineyard to reduce the crop load and concentrate the vines’ energy. While it was the right thing to do, the decision of when to thin and by how much proved critical as the Napa Valley sweltered under a late August heat spike which saw temperatures climb above the 110 degree mark. We were fortunate, as our vines handily endured the extreme weather and the clusters showed little evidence of sunburn or shrivel. Following this one significant heat event, we enjoyed an extended spell of warm, Indian summer weather that carried through until early October. The ideal conditions allowed the clusters to gain optimal ripeness and maturity.


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 its high mineral content and exceptional drainage and offers optimal north-south sun exposure by day with cool coastal breezes at night which we feel is the ideal environment for growing our Cabernet Sauvignon.

Critical Praise 

Rated 96+ Pts. Violets, mint, blueberries, cassis and tar all come to life in the glass as the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon T6 Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard shows off its considerable pedigree. The T6 is the first Cabernet in this tasting where the structure of the vintage is indelibly stamped into the wine. Today, the 2010 is incredibly backward. A long, cool growing season stretching 130 days from bud break to harvest yielded loose clusters with small, thick-skinned grapes. As the name implies, the T6 is clone 6 Cabernet from block D2. This is another totally striking wine from Schrader.

— Antonio Galloni, The Wine Advocate

Rated 97 Pts. Impeccably balanced, with powerful currant, dark berry, mocha, floral and understated cedar notes, this wine begs for cellaring as it is just beginning to reveal its depth and dimensions. Ends with chewy, gripping, ripe, flavorful tannins.

— James Laube, Wine Spectator