Value Alert: 2006 Chappellet Signature Napa Valley Cabernet

Friday, July 10, 2009

Napa Cabs from the 2006 vintage are most typically what you'll find in stores as current releases by now. And while Wine Spectator has only rated about a third of what they'll end up eventually reviewing over the next year, there have already been a few pleasant surprises for folks that buy wine based on their ratings. One that jumped out at me, based on QPR, was the 2006 Chappellet (pronounced: sha-pell-lay) Signature Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

This is the first Napa Cab I've featured as a Value Alert. It's a tough category. But it's a category that I find is quickly depleted from my wine refrigerator since I always seem to have a taste for Napa Cab. At a relatively modest release price of $42, and a Wine Spectator rating of 94 points, this wine receives a wwpQPR rating of 3.0: Very Good when using $50 as a baseline for the price point at which it becomes relatively easy to find an outstanding bottle. Read more about the wwpQPR here...

The 2005 vintage of this wine was quite intriguing to me for its overt coffee aromas. It literally smelled like a Starbucks in a very good way. I tasted it as part of an 8-way head-to-head blind tasting which pitted 4 "Steakhouse" Cabs against 4 value picks at one of my favorite local wine shops. Chappellet is a brand that flies a little bit under the radar screen. Yes, it's in big name restaurants and wine shops, but it's lurking right behind the Silver Oak, Caymus, Jordan and Cakebread (ohhh- Cakebread...) and at a fraction of the cost.

I cracked open a bottle of the 2006 recently. I felt it was a bit "closed" at this point, but elegant and full of potential. It's not at all luscious, or overt or obvious. It's young. But it's good. Very good. It's kind of like Natalie Portman in the movie "Beautiful Girls" - you could just tell she was going to be a great actress. Or Ken Griffey Jr. when he first joined the Mariners: Effortless power.

Have a look at other opinions on CellarTracker- the wine is trending quite favorably even at this young age.

A nice story that goes along with this wine was that the 2005 (88 points WS) carried a release price of $47. Due to the bad economy, however, the winery dropped the release price on this year's vintage to $42. Now that's a move I can get behind!

You might be wondering- how can a $42 wine be considered a value? Well, it's a value because it is so good and yet relatively affordable compared to its expensive peer group. Have a look at this piece that includes a histogram of the Wine Spectator ratings of 2005 Napa Cabs for a more complete discussion.


Buy 2 or 3 bottles and hold them for 2-3 years if you have a good storage situation.

Where to buy it:

  • The wine stores in BJ's Warehouse in Stoneham, MA and Danvers, MA (location information here)
  • VinoDivino in Newton, MA
  • Hingham Wine Merchant in Hingham, MA (781)740-9393
  • Others? Drop me an E-mail or leave a comment below.
Other wines you might be interested in:
Question of the Day: If you've had Chappellet wines before, what do you think of them? If not, what are some of your favorite Napa Cab producers that deliver consistent value?


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