The wines that come off their vineyards high atop Pritchard Hill have long been prized by collectors – due in no small part to the enormous praise that’s been heaped upon them. Robert Parker declared “Old timers have long known that one of the most compelling, riveting, world-class Cabernet Sauvignons ever made in California was Chappellet’s 1969.”
The Wine Spectator – tasting the wine nearly 40 years later gave it perhaps the highest praise possible – proclaiming it “could have easily passed as a timeless Latour.”
But despite all the praise, the winery has remained an intensely family affair – and the feel up on Pritchard Hill is much more like a neighborhood with winding streets and handmade signs indicating the neighbors: Colgin, Bryant, Ovid, Continuum.
All are Johnny-come-latelies compared to when Donn and Molly Chappellet came to settle here in 1967. Few people thought quality grape growth was even possible up at these heights, but the couple relied on the advice of the infamous André Tchelistcheff and not only planted their vines but also made the mountain top their home.
As you can tell from the quotes above about their 1969 release, success came very quickly and obviously the gamble paid off. Phil Titus – now a legend in his own right – has continued the record of success. Phil first came to the winery in 1981 and since 1990 has been at the helm – producing his own tirade of high flying ratings in the press.
2018 was a monster vintage high atop the mountain and produced wines of immense character. Throughout the valley – vineyards managers had to show immense restraint to not pick too early, atop Pritchard Hill – harvesting took dozens of passes with the last not being completed until Halloween!
This bottle embodies everything you’ve grown to love about mountain Cabernet – bold flavor, thought-provoking aromatics and a finish that goes on for days. Dark purple in the glass with notes of plums, currants and black cherries – and a touch of dark chocolate.
93+ Points, Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot and 5% Malbec. It was harvested from September 18 to October 30, and the alcohol weighed in at 14.5%. Deep garnet-purple in color, exuberant notes of warm plums, ripe black and red currants and black cherries come bounding out of the glass with suggestions of cedar chest, unsmoked cigars and beef drippings. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is simply singing with juicy black fruits and velvety tannins, finishing long with some baking spice hints coming through. Open for business now, this wine can easily be cellared for 20 years or more.
93 Points, James Suckling
Lots of blackcurrant and blueberry with violet and boysenberry. Some chocolate, too. Full-bodied with lightly dusty tannins that give a special texture and beauty to the wine. Flavorful and intense at the finish.