Chappellet Wine Tasting - Prichard Hill's first winery

Friday, October 25, 2019 - 07:30 PM

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"Even though a number of people have tried, no one has yet found a way to drink for a living."--

Jean Kerr

 
 I beg to differ with that opinion as I do drink for a living and have a show called "What I Drank Yesterday".  


The Chappellet family makes one of the best Cabernet Sauvignon’s in Napa Valley and it can go head to head with any of the $500 and up wines made in Napa Valley.  Prichard Hill’s first winery is still making some of the best wine in Napa Valley and although it is over $250 per bottle, we always offer it upon release at one of the best prices in the country but we only get 18 bottles a year!!  I am putting the last magnum of the 2013 vintage on the table for this tasting tonight along with the 2015 and the newly released 2016 vintage Prichard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon which just scored (100 points) in the Wine Advocate.  Along with the Three Prichard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon’s we will have seven other wines from Chappellet winery on the table this evening.
Chappellet Winery was one of the first Mountain Vineyards to be established after prohibition and although they came out of the gate strong with one of the best wines from the 1969 vintage and a strong follow-up in 1970 and 1973, the next few vintages were a bit of a disappointment for some.  With superstar winemakers like: Philip Togni, Joe Cafaro, Tony Soter, Cathy Corison and finally Philip Titus came along in 1990.  Philip has been here ever since and it’s this consistency at the winemaking position that is the reason why the wines have been very consistent after 1990. 
The Chappellets now have some very famous neighbors, Tim Mondavi with his Continuum project, Bryant Family and Colgin just to name a few.  All of these wines are double or triple the price of Chappellet today, but none of these guys bought the land in the early 1960's. 
Join us as we welcome the director of sales from Napa Valley Jacob Jata to dinner on Friday, October 25th and the fee for this tasting is less than the price of one bottle of Prichard Hill Cabernet and the fee for the tasting includes dinner!!
It’s not that I could not find a picture of Jacob to put on this announcement I just love the picture of our good friend Cyril Chappellet with the red solo cup!  Although Cyril will not be here this year, we have hosted many events over the years with Cyril and we are happy to have the director of sales for Chappellet winery here this evening Jacob Jata will be here to present the wines. The fee for this tasting which includes dinner is $225 per person + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com

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Chappellet Wine Tasting - Prichard Hill's First Winery with Special Guest Jacob Jata
Friday, October 25, 2019
7:30 PM
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2018 Chappellet “Signature” Chenin Blanc Napa
Our Chenin Blanc has a long and storied history on Pritchard Hill®.  The original vines were already producing when Donn and Molly purchased the property in the late 1960s.  Following a replanting in 2004, we reintroduced our Chenin Blanc as a “Signature” designation – with a twist.  While our Signature Cabernet and Chardonnay bear Donn Chappellet’s name, Molly Chappellet’s signature graces our Chenin Blanc label.
Winemaker Notes: This vibrant and enticing expression of mountain-grown Chenin Blanc offers a beautiful nose of Meyer lemon, minerality, stone fruit, lychee and fresh-cut hay.  On the palate, lively acidity underscores flavors of citrus, green apple and delicate tropical fruit, keeping everything fresh and bright.
Image result for 2017 Grower Collection “Calesa Vineyard” Chardonnay (Petaluma Gap) Sonoma
2017 Grower Collection “Calesa Vineyard” Chardonnay (Petaluma Gap) Sonoma
Price: $56.00   Sale $49.28
(93 Points) The 2017 Chardonnay Grower Collection Calesa Vineyard is reticent on the nose at first, opening to apple blossom and wet stone with green and white fruits, fresh herbs, underlying spices and an intriguing note of tangerine peel. Medium-bodied, with a fantastic creamy/silky texture, it fills the mouth with spicy fruits and a line of rocky minerality, ending with nutty/honeyed nuances. Give this some time in the bottle.  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Image result for 2017 Grower Collection “El Novillero Vineyard” Chardonnay Carneros
2017 Grower Collection “El Novillero Vineyard” Chardonnay Carneros
Price: $56.00   Sale $49.28
(94 Points) The 2017 Chardonnay Grower Collection El Novillero has a lovely nose of white apricot and peach with apple pie, honey toast, toasted hazelnut, wet stone, and creamy lemon. Medium-bodied, it packs a punch of flavor in the mouth with great layers of ripe fruits, savory/toasty notes and creamy citrus plus suggestions of white blossoms, with refreshing acidity to lift the long, long flavorful finish. Wine Spectator
Image result for 2017 Grower Collection “Dutton Ranch” Pinot Noir Sonoma
2017 Grower Collection “Dutton Ranch” Pinot Noir Sonoma
Price: $56.00   Sale $49.28
This rich and expressive Pinot Noir begins with aromas of currant, crème de cassis, and dark cherry, followed by subtle notes of anise, clove, mocha and rose petals. On the palate, silky tannins add length and polish to flavors of wild berry and pomegranate, with hints of white pepper and nutmeg providing nuance to the lingering finish.
Image result for 2017 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee North Coast
2017 Chappellet Mountain Cuvee North Coast
Price: $35.00   Sale $30.80

2016 Merlot
2016 Chappellet Merlot Napa
Price: $55.00   Sale $48.40
This supple and elegant mountain-grown Merlot continues to remind wine lovers how delicious Merlot can be. It was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels (40% new), and was blended with three of the other red Bordeaux varieties for added structure and complexity.
Wine Blend: 77% Merlot, 10% Malbec, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot
Winemaker Notes: This lovely wine draws you in with its complex aromas of dark berry, briary spice, anise, clove, cedar chest and black tea. On the palate, silky tannins add depth and length to luxurious flavors of black plum, cherry, dark chocolate and roasted coffee, all of which glide to a warm, rich finish.

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2016 Chappellet “Signature” Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
Price: $72.75   Sale $64.02
(96 points) The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature has a very deep garnet-purple color and opens with wonderfully expressive notes of warm cassis, baked plums, black raspberries and kirsch with suggestions of underbrush, lilacs and chocolate box. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals layers of red and black berries with stunning freshness and an approachable, grainy texture, finishing long and earthy. (LPB) 96+ (10/2018)  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Image result for Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon MAGNUM

2013 Chappellet Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon MAGNUM
(98 Points)   “The flagship wine, the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill is a blend of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 6% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot aged 22 months in 100% new French oak. This is a 40- to 50-year wine and simply compelling. Inky bluish/purple with a stunning nose of white flowers, crushed rock, blueberry, black raspberry and cassis, this is a great, great effort in this vintage, which is not that surprising, but this youthful wine still seems in its infancy and certainly has huge upside to it. It’s very deep and full-bodied, but still coiled very tight and restrained, this should turn out to be a tour de force and a great offering in 2013. Don’t touch it for another 5-7 years."   The Wine Advocate

2015 Chappellet Proprietary Red Pritchard Hill Napa
Price: $273.00    Your Price: $218.40          Quantity in Stock: 10

(100 points) Also inky colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill comes from the estate vineyard on Pritchard Hill and spent 22 months in new French oak. It has a similar level of purity, as well as incredible minerality, to go with notes of crème de cassis, scorched earth, crushed rock, and graphite. Reminiscent of liking a rock with its insane level of minerality, this full-bodied beauty is tight and closed on the palate, yet is just loaded with potential. It’s only for those with cold cellars and needs forgotten for 7-8 years, but will keep for 4-5 decades. Bravo! Jeb Dunnuck 122017 -JebDunnuck.com

2016 Chappellet “Pritchard Hill” Cabernet Sauvignon Napa
Price: $300      Sale $264.00
(100  Points) The 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Pritchard Hill has a very deep garnet-purple color. To smell the nose is like hearing angels trumpeting at the pearly gates! The most incredible and evocative scents come spilling out of the glass, conjuring notions of freshly crushed black raspberries, wild blueberries, red and black currant compote and raspberry leaves with subtler hints of roses, violets, tilled soil, cigar box and fragrant earth. Medium to full-bodied and achingly graceful in the mouth, the perfumed black and red fruits seemingly dance on the palate with a very firm yet beautifully fine-grained texture and just the right amount of freshness, finishing with epic persistence. Hallelujah—this is perfection!!  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

Menu
Selection of Charcuterie and Cheese
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burrata Short Stack with Sundried Tomato Vinaigrette
A5 Waygu Filet Mignon Sashimi with Soy Orange Ginger Honey Glaze
Chocolate Covered Bacon and Berries

 

The fee for this wine tasting which includes dinner is $225.00 + tax, for reservations call 954-523-9463 or e-mail andy@winewatch.com.

A bit about Chappellet Vineyards:

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Established in 1967 by Donn and Molly Chappellet, Chappellet Vineyard is the second winery to be built in the Napa Valley after Prohibition - just after Robert Mondavi opened his doors in 1966.  Wine had been a passion with the Chappellets for many years.  After they were married on their last day in college, they drove through the Napa Valley and reflected on what a wonderful way of life it could someday be for them.  Shortly thereafter, Donn went to work in the competitive, cutthroat business environment of Los Angeles and in 1955 co-founded the tremendously successful Interstate United Corporation, an industrial food service business in Los Angeles.  Ten years later he left the business to establish a winery where he could challenge his creative instincts and find an appealing way of life for himself, his wife, and their six children.

Donn Chappellet found what was a natural amphitheater on Pritchard Hill on the slopes of Lake Hennessy some 1700 feet above the Napa Valley.  He purchased almost 600 acres - a little over 100 of which would be planted to vineyards.  Then, the vineyard land cost him about $4,000 an acre - today vineyards on Pritchard Hill go for twenty times that amount.  Although the property was already partially planted to vineyards in 1964, Chappellet will always be regarded as the first modern California winery to make a major commitment to "mountain farming".  Because of the added stress to the vines and the small, intensely- flavored grape yields, hillside and mountainside grapes often produce more powerful, long-lived wines than their counterparts on the valley floor.  "The volcanic soils and warm, dry temperatures of Pritchard Hill contribute both force and finesse -the essence of truly great wine," says Donn Chappellet.

Chappellet's winemaking facility is symbolized on the label by the brand logo.  Construction was begun on the building in 1968 and completed by the harvest of 1969.  The spectacular geometric structure designed by Donn and Molly resembles a cathedral more than a winery.  It is a section from a tetrahedron, which forms a pyramid.   Intended to integrate with the natural environment, the building reflects the surrounding volcanic soils with a reddish steel roof.  It is 212 feet on each side at the base with a towering roof of rust colored red steel parted by long panels of glass that bathe the interior in light.   The inside is as interesting and spectacular as the outside.   Two sides of the pyramid are stacked with small french oak barrels, where the wine develops until judged ready for the bottle.   The third side, where rows of fermentors stand reaching toward the apex of the pyramid stretching above, completes the structure.

Today 110-acres of vines cling to the steep, terraced hillsides around the winery - the vineyard is planted to Cabernet, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Merlot.  There once was an excellent Johanissberg Riesling, but sluggish sales forced a halt in production after the 1988 vintage.  Dry-farmed until recently, the Chappellets have completed reservoirs enabling them to expand their planting program and explore new varietals and rootstocks.  Chappellet remains family oriented with three children participating in "generation two" of Chappellet's sales and marketing efforts.  Production has reached a level of 25,000 cases annually with four varietals: Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.

To many critics Chappellet has been an enigma.  The winery debuted in 1969 with what many regard as one of the greatest Cabernets of the vintage and repeated again in 1970 and 1973 with several more spectacular efforts.  However, since then, the winery has never again reached its early heights with Cabernet - despite some excellent Cabernets made there in 1976, 1977, 1980, 1984, 1985, and 1987.  In 1980 the winery began designating what it deemed its best vintages as "Signature Reserve".  In a Signature year, all Chappellet Cabernet released is so labeled.  In other years the Cabernet is sold simply as the Estate Cabernet.   Over the years the winery has employed some of the legends in California winemaking.  The first was Phil Togni, English-born and French-schooled, who had been a veteran of a number of other California operations from the gigantic Gallo to the tiny Chalone.  Togni now operates his own small winery, and it has been drawing much recent critical acclaim.  Shortly after the 1974 vintage (a disappointment for Chappellet), the young Joe Cafaro arrived fresh out of Fresno State; and Cafaro made wines there until the 1977 vintage.  Cafaro left and went to Robert Keenan and then Acacia, where he made some legendary wines; today he is a highly-regarded consultant and operates his own small Cafaro Cellars, which has been heralded for its phenomenal Cabernets and Merlots.  In 1977 Tony Soter joined Chappellet.  Soter, who left in the early 1980's to develop and make the Spottswoode Cabernets and launch his own brand, Étude Wines, is considered one of the top half dozen winemakers in California.  Soter was succeeded by Cathy Corison (now his former wife) who made wine at Chappellet through the '87 vintage.  Corison has become an overnight star in the Napa Valley since leaving to make her own wines - her '88, '89 and '90 Cabernets have been among the top Napa Valley Cabernets in their price class.  This all-star line-up of winemakers over the past two decades has further contributed to the mystery of inconsistency and occasional mediocrity at Chappellet.  The next winemaker, Philip Titus, made several changes by increasing the use of malolactic fermentation and by employing more oak.  We were still a bit underwhelmed by the results in the early nineties.  It was not been until the 1996 & 1997 vintages that the Cabernets here have begun to show the signs of greatness that the early wines displayed.  Today the Prichard Hill wine, the Signature Cabernet Sauvignon and the Mountain Cuvee are among the top wines in each prospective price point.  The top wine from Prichard Hill just scored (99+ points) Robert Parker Jr.'s Wine Advocate for the newly released 2012 vintage!!  This wine is still only a fraction of the cost of the Chappellet's neighbors that moved in a few decades after they did.

 

The "Signature" Cabernet Sauvignon has been Chappellet's flagship wine for more than three decades. It is a benchmark for the long-lived hillside wines of the Napa Valley; full of structure and ageing potential, yet seductively forward in its concentrated varietal character.  Collectors covet vintages from the 1970's, 1980's and 1990's, and the acclaimed 2000's uphold this enduring tradition.

 

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