One of the great lineups in Napa, Chappellet was founded by Napa pioneer Donn Chappellet. Born in 1931 in Los Angeles, Donn started his wine education by collecting Bordeaux wines while in college, and later ran Interstate United Corporation, a coffee-vending distributorship he co-founded in the mid-1950s, which he helped turn into the third-largest such business in the United States, with more than 7,000 employees and a listing on the New York Stock Exchange.
In 1966 he sold his shares in Interstate United and guided by the legendary winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff of Beaulieu Vineyards bought 320 acres of rocky mountain terrain at the eastern edge of the Napa Valley. Donn saw this terroir as one which would connect with the great wines of Bordeaux. He saw the potential for Pritchard Hill and initially planted Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon which was met with great critical acclaim. Sadly passing in 2016, Donn became a legend of this great Napa Valley AVA.
Winemaker Phillip Corallo-Titus has been at Chappellet remarkably since 1990. A graduate of UC Davis, Phillip spent time traveling to both Bordeaux and Burgundy to learn about these esteemed regions. In 1981, Phillip joined the Chappellet team as assistant winemaker, and then in1990, Donn Chappellet invited Phillip to return to the winery as Chappellet’s winemaker, a position he has held ever since. Phillip’s wines were simply outstanding across the board. I absolutely adored his new 2017 Chappellet ‘Sangiacomo Vineyard’ Chardonnay (WWB, 93) which has amazing tension intact in the wine and shows really dazzling bright citrus zest and cream flavors. This is one for the cellar. One of the great wines that I have sampled over the past year, the 2015 Chappellet ‘Pritcharid Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (WWB, 97) is a massive and dense beast of a wine. With a silky mouthfeel and gobs of dark fruits with serious range, this beautiful wine is only an infant now and will provide drinking pleasure for decades. Learn more about this famed Napa estate at
2017 Chappellet ‘Sangiacomo Vineyard’ Chardonnay- The ‘Sangiacomo Vineyard’ is a cool site in the Carneros region of the Napa Valley. Lemon zest and brioche with banana undertones fill the nose. The palate has good freshness and richness with downright delicious lemon infused vanilla cream and roasted hazelnut flavors. Stunning in its youth, this beautiful wine will cellar well for a decade or more. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2017 Chappellet ‘Calesea Vineyard’ Chardonnay- The ‘Calesea Vineyard’ is a cool climate vineyard located in the Petaluma Gap of Sonoma. The nose shows earthy and smoky undertones with vanilla cream brûlée and suggestions of ripe tropical fruits that fill the glass. The palate shows good richness and tension with beautiful tropical and orchard fruits with an exceedingly long, vanilla cream finish. While delightful now, this will cellar well for at least another decade. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2017 Chappellet ‘El Novillero Vineyard’ Chardonnay- The ‘El Novillero Vineyard’ features Robert Young clone Chardonnay which was first planted in 1993. On the nose this takes on ripe peach, vanilla cream and roasted pineapple aromas that all collide in the glass. The texture is lovely as the wine shows not only great richness but great minerality. Pineapple upside-down cake, vanilla cream, nutmeg and Pink Lady apple flavors all come together marvelously. While enticing now, this will develop well over the next decade. Drink 2019-2029- 93
2017 Chappellet ‘Bateman Vineyard’ Pinot Noir- Located in the Russian River Valley AVA, the ‘Bateman Vineyard’ is planted on Goldridge loamy soils. The nose opens with ripe boysenberry cobbler, teaberry and suggestions of exotic spices and smoke infused cran-cherry that fill the glass. The palate is remarkably earthy, showing a silky mouthfeel with delicate tannins. Dark fruits collide with red fruits and smoky undertones on the palate. While delicious now, this will continue to develop over the next ten plus years. Drink 2019-2029- 92
2017 Chappellet ‘Dutton Ranch’ Pinot Noir- One of the great vineyards in California, the ‘Dutton Ranch’ was first planted in 1967 by Warren Dutton in this foggy, cooler site for Pinot Noir. The bouquet is outstanding with bright red fruits that connect with citrus rind and shades of black truffle that fill this intoxicating nose. The palate is downright delicious, showing not only a silky mouthfeel but a stunning array of red fruits, blood orange and black truffle flavors. Complex and stunning now, this will develop well over the next fifteen plus years. Drink 2019-2033- 94
2017 Chappellet ‘Mountain Cuvee’ Red Wine- The 2017 ‘Mountain Cuvee’ is a blend of largely Cabernet Sauvignon (55%) with 28% Merlot, and smaller portions Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Showing off its inky color, the ‘Mountain Cuvee’ opens with forward and downright delicious dark fruit flavors with shades of chocolate and minerals. Seriously good and delightful in its youth, this will provide drinking enjoyment over the next seven plus years. Drink 2019-2025- 91
2015 Chappellet ‘Pritchard Hill’ Cabernet Sauvignon- The 2016 ‘Pritchard Hill’ Cabernet Sauvignon by Chappellet is a stunning new wine by this storied Napa winery. Sourced from their estate vineyard, the Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 22 months in new French oak prior to bottling. This bold, yet elegant wine shows very dark aromas of espresso bean, tar, cassis and anise that all collide in the glass. The palate shows off a silky texture, yielding both incredible tension and viscosity. Black cherry compote, mocha, anise, cigar ash and chocolate covered black raspberry flavors all impress on the palate. The exceedingly long finish lingers long on the palate. While exceptional in its youth, this esteemed wine will only improve with extended bottle age. Drink 2020-2040- 97