Cabernet Sauvignon Vineyards at Chappellet
Some of our favorite wines for the last 5 years have been coming from Chappellet high up on Prichard Hill and next to one of the original cult producers in Napa Valley Bryant Family Vineyards. Perched up at 1,200 feet above the Napa Valley floor Don and Mary Chappellet have been creating world class wines since 1967 from their Pritchard Hill Estate. For the last two decades Phillip Titus has been making world class wines at Chappellet that have been constructed in a way to age gracefully.
During our visit to Chappellet this past fall we had a chance to walk through the vineyards and really observe the terroir and vines. The vines we walked through had clusters of Cabernet Sauvignon and were going to be picked any day. The 2010 growing season was a late harvest, Napa Valley was faced with showers in early October and then a heat wave rolled in towards the third week of the month. Looks like it will be a tough harvest to deal with espically following the 2009 which was superb year for Napa Valley but we are sure Phillip can handle just about anything.
Once we hit the tasting room we were eager to dive right in and try the wines. We started off with the 2009 Chardonnay which showed bright notes of orange zest and pear, a rich full body chardonnay that was very balanced. From their we moved into the 2008 Mountain Cuvee which always has been a great bang for the buck. ( The 2007 Mountain Cuvee had over 50% Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, also had 92 Points Wine Spectator) The 2008 Cuvee had some big shoes to fill following the 2007 but it held its ground. The blend was 52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 43% Merlot, 3% Petit Verdot, 1% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. Notes of blackberry, sweet vanilla flew from the glass, on the palate the wine had great structure and complexity with a finish that lingered for a good 30 seconds. (Over Delivered Like Always) The next wine has been a Wine Stop favorite since the 1997 vintage it was the 2008 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon the color was dark magenta, the nose was loaded with dark cherry notes, toasted oak and hints of mocha. Wine was complex yet forward and ripe with firm tannins this wine would be a great wine to put away in the cellar and forget about for about five years. Like always the Signature Cabernet was a wine that we would put up with the likes of Caymus or Cakebread any given day. The last wine of the tasting is always a treat to try and that was the 2007 Prichard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon. It was ripe in your face mountain Cabernet with black cherry, blackberry and cola with notes of cinnamon and spice.
Our afternoon at Chappellet was wonderful and enjoyed our time trying the best wines of Chappellet. The two standout wines were the 2008 Mountain Cuvee and the 2008 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon.