Just recently, I visited Chappellet Winery. Chappellet is located high on Pritchard Hill and was the second winery to make its home there. This winery is truly a family affair, as the Chappellets have resided and grown vines here since 1967. They are most known for their cabernets, which have great depth and concentration.
Pritchard Hill is situated in the Vaca Mountains, which are on the eastern side of Napa Valley and have elevations of 700-2,000 feet. This height allows the vines early morning sun with more moderate temperatures. For the grapes, it provides a wonderful environment to develop deep flavors. For us – it is a setting that provides great views.
The Chappellets have been real stewards of Pritchard Hill. They were certified organic in 2012, they have installed solar panels for electricity to sustain the property, and they established a gray water process for irrigation, and more. They value the land, and it has provided them with wines of depth and finesse.
When I visited, it was a clear day after the rain. The view was glorious and in keeping with the wine. I had the distinct pleasure of a private tour of the winery and vineyards. We started inside the winery with Chenin Blanc – very little is grown in the valley. We walked the vineyards with a Chardonnay in hand. This was an opportunity to learn about the plantings and the evolution of the winery itself. Back inside, I tasted the ’11 Cab Franc and was blown away by the ’09 Pritchard Hill Cabernet. This is their flagship wine – a real beauty! It was open and fragrant with real richness and a long finish. The ’12 Pritchard Hill has already been rated by Robert Parker and been given 99 points – near perfect. I cannot wait to taste that. This is a winery worth the trip, and the wine is wonderful.
For details, check out their website. Like many wineries, you need an appointment to do a tasting here.