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Senior Tim Fish joined the Wine Spectator staff in 2001. His tasting beat includes U.S. sparkling wine, and California Zinfandel and Merlot.
Tim Fish

A Classy Napa Blend for a Palatable Price

Chappellet Mountain Cuvee 2007

Tim Fish
Posted: March 1, 2010

I splurge on high-end Napa Cabernet now and again because I love those rich, intensely flavored wines, but they aren’t always in the budget. On a recent Friday evening, Sonoma County was sunny for a change, so I decided to grill steaks outside. My wife brought home a bottle of the Chappellet Mountain Cuvee, and the evening became even brighter.

Chappellet winery always seems to over-deliver on quality for the price, thanks in large part to the estate’s 100 acres of vines on Pritchard Hill, high above Napa Valley. The 2007 is a blend of 51 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 46 percent Merlot, with a dash of Malbec, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The wine is rich and seamlessly mouthfilling yet complex and beautifully structured. It’s ready to drink in the short term—it brought out the best in the beef—but will do fine in the cellar for a few years. I rated it 92 points, non-blind. It sells for $29, a bargain by most Napa standards.

WineSpectator.com members: Get previous scores and tasting notes for other Chappellet bottlings.

David Blakeley
New Jersey —  March 1, 2010 11:03am ET
Tim,

I too love the Mountain Cuvee and have been buying it off and on for a few years now. I can normally find it for around $20-$24, which adds to the attraction. With the popularity of Signature the Cuvee is a great alternative.
Robert Kim
Las Vegas, Nevada —  March 4, 2010 12:49am ET
I have found this wine to over deliver as well, it has a great flavor profile and captures great Napa cab features, for only $20-ish.
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  March 4, 2010 1:39pm ET
Thanks for the comments Robert and David. It's a wine worth seeking out.
Robert Kim
Las Vegas, Nevada —  April 14, 2010 2:27am ET
Tim,
Ever have the Chappellet Cyril's Cuvee? It seems to be reduced dramatically to the mid-$20's, primarily merlot-based, but with other bordeaux varietals added.
Thomas L Koch
Califon, NJ —  May 29, 2010 12:34pm ET
Tim,
My presumption upon seeing the "shelf talker" with a 92 WS rating was that this was reviewed by Jame Laube in standard blind WS format, and knowing JL's palate and mine coincide, I bought out the shelf because it was only $17.99/bottle. After seeing that it was not listed in the WS reviews as expected, I became concerned & opened a bottle to taste. I was stunned by the quality at this price point -- it earns every one of your 92 points, with the finish still lingering 5 minutes after my taste. Thanks much for the great tip!
Tim Fish
Santa Rosa, CA —  May 29, 2010 1:57pm ET
Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading us.

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