I had my first Chappellet wine at Bacchanalia in Atlanta sometime in early 2007. It had a profound impact on me, silly as that may sound. It was the Mountain Cuvee which is the lower end Cab blend they produce, however, I loved it and when planning our next trip to wine country, Chappellet was the first appointment I made. Yes, you need an appointment but that is partly because you would not find this winery way off the beaten path atop Pritchard Hill without their specific directions. And, while appointments may seem like a hassle, the limited attendance at wineries like Chappellet really makes the experience more special. I am not a fan of overcrowded tasting rooms and this format makes that impossible.
The tasting includes a tour of the wine making facility as well as the vineyards so you really get a chance to learn about the winery and what they do. The view from the vineyards is really beautiful as well. I was absolutely heartbroken on our visit to learn that the current release of Mountain Cuvee was sold out, but that simply gave me the chance to try with other Cabs (the Signature cab and the Pritchard Hill cab).
We also tried the 04 Chenin Blanc which was the first white my husband loved, the 04 0ld wine cuvee (also made from Chenin Blanc grapes), the 05 Chard, the 04 Merlot and the 05 Zin. We joined the wine club so clearly we had a fantastic visit and loved the wines. In the years since we joined, I have tried many of their wines and this winery makes great wines. Or think of a word better than great and that describes their wines.
Downsides? None other than having to plan ahead. Wines are great and at a variety of price points to suit all levels of buyers.
Rating: 4 out of 4 stars – highly recommend