When Chappellet Winery opened its doors in 1967, 32 wineries operated in Napa. Robert Mondavi – now owned by corporate wine company Constellation – was number 31. Today, over 400 wineries share the same valley. Early on in this recession, Chappellet began combating the sales spiral by concentrating on the customer — they lowered their prices. “We wanted people to feel the love,” said Cyril Chappellet, 2nd generation winemaker. But they also stayed true to their history. (Read my interview with Cyril Chappellet)
This 2008 Cabernet effort tastes like it. Elegant, delicate and restrained, this 14.9% Napa wine isn’t over the top but has balanced alcohol, just enough fruit and plush, tame tannins. It’s a Bordeaux-style blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and the remainder in Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot. Chappellet’s 2008 Cabernet is full-bodied with smooth acidity so I’d consider it a wine that improves with food but can also be tasty alone after opening up about 30 minutes in the glass. Plum, black cherry, a dash of cinnamon and bittersweet chocolate come to mind, along with belt leather and a fruity, blackberry finish. Interesting and a good value as far as Napa cabernets go.
Sweetness: 1 out of 10
Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Occasion: Sample sent from the winery
Availability: Some high-end large wine retailers and independent wine shops
Food pairing: Braised ribs, Osso Bucco or any grilled, deliciously fatty meats.