With a trip to Napa and Sonoma coming up for TuscanVines,  I decided to “prime” myself last night and opened a recent release from the respected Cabernet producer, Chappellet. 
Chappellet is one of my favorite producers from Napa. Their “Signature” Cabernet often overperforms for the price point and is widely available. Coincidentally, it’s been almost a year since I tried the 2009 version of this very wine, and while the 2010 is delicious, it doesn’t quite boast the same level of ripeness, richness or complexity that it’s older sibling possesses.
The 2010 Chappellet Signature Cabernet is a deep, blackish purple in the glass. I decanted the wine for about 30 minutes just to aerate it, and was surprised to remove a slight sediment.  The aroma boasts classic Napa scents:  Black fruits mix with cedar, spices, anise and new leather.  On the palate, the wine is full bodied with a distinctive core of dusty black fruit framed by lots of shaley minerals, slight mocha and spice. It’s leaner than one might expect and it’s loaded with very chewy tannins.  This wine needs some time in the cellar to flesh out a little. With a hunk of aged gouda, the wine showed very well, but without food, it wasn’t as interesting.  As wine should be, keep this one on the dinner table.  90 points, about $40.

~ Chappellet 2010:  76% Cabernet, 14% Merlot, 6% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot ~
The next report on Napa Cabernet will come from Napa itself!  It’s RoadTrip® time and we’ve got some interesting feature articles planned in the coming weeks.  Salute!
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