This blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon (with a little Petit Verdot and Malbec) is the end result of near obsessive vine work throughout a blockbuster growing season. Most of the fruit was sourced from the Pritchard Hill site, which delivers on flavor in a big way, with blackberry pie, Morello cherries and nuances of pencil shavings, roses and cinnamon. Fine grained tannins support the bags of crunchy black fruit in this exceptional vintage. To be frank, this is a damn fine Cabernet.
If you asked us for our list of Napa Valley wineries currently making the highest quality, most complete, most consistent, most interesting, most ageworthy wines for the money, Chappellet Winery would be at the top. Consider all the metrics: track record, intrinsic quality, taste of the soil, availability, quality-price rapport, freshness, and visceral excitement. Is this the finest winery, top-to-bottom, in the Napa Valley? Why are the wines so good? First, take a great terroir: volcanic terraces high on Pritchard Hill that were first planted in 1882. It’s no accident that Colgin, Continuum, and Bryant Family set up shop in the neighborhood. Then we have 47 years of accumulated knowledge from some of the best winemaking talent the valley has ever seen: Philip Togni, Joe Cafaro, Tony Soter, Cathy Corison and finally Philip Corallo-Titus, who has been at the winemaking helm since 1990. And finally there’s the huge Chappellet family, dedicated as a team to farm great grapes and make superb wines since 1968.
The 2018 Cabernet Franc is a blend of 75% Cabernet Franc, 15% Cabernet sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec. It was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels, 60% new. The alcohol weighed in at 14.5%. Deep garnet-purple in color, bright, cheery red and black fruit notes of red currant jelly, blackberry pie, Morello cherries and boysenberries spring from the glass, followed by nuances of pencil shavings, red roses, raspberry leaves and cinnamon stick. Medium to full-bodied, the palate displays compelling purity, featuring bags of crunchy black berry flavors and ripe, finely grained tannins to support, finishing with a lively skip in its step.