Luxuriously dark and concentrated, this wine displays aromas of cassis, black cherry and boysenberry, as well as notes of fresh herbs and French oak inspired hints of vanilla, cardamom and clove. On the palate it is beautifully full-bodied with supple, polished tannins and alluring layers of dark berries and spice, with notions of dark chocolate, espresso, sage and anise emerging on the long, dramatic finish.
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 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature shows the density and structure of the vintage, with medium to full body, good mid-palate depth, plenty of mountain tannins, and classic Pritchard Hill blue fruits, dark chocolate, and ample minerality. This is a serious wine in the making, and I suspect short-term cellaring will be warranted.