Chappellet Mountain Cuvee '15 - surprisingly disappointing...

Not sure if there are fans of this wine here, but it’s far from what I expected in a ‘Mountain’ Cuvee…it’s jammy, sweet, soft, and I’m not finding any ‘mountain’ qualities to it whatsoever - that bright, popping blue fruit I love in mountain reds. I’ve got 2 more bottles, maybe several years of aging will help?

I’m a big fan of Chappellett, but I have also been disappointed in this wine the few times I’ve had it in other vintages. I have not had the 2015.

Oh come on seriously! What were you expecting for $25 neener

[stirthepothal.gif] flirtysmile

I think it’s supposed to be a crowd pleaser so for that vintage that sounds about right. Age will probably help soften it a bit.

Age will probably help soften it a bit.

Nick, yikes. I’m not sure that’s what he’s looking for. He said it was "jammy, sweet, soft. neener

My guess is that age will make it worse. No reason to age something that has no where to go. But then people age 2007 CdP, so who knows.

Disappointing, because that wine used to be a decent value. Not profound, but not really a bad wine for the price. Haven’t had one in at least ten years though.

I’ve not been impressed with Chappellet of late. Going back to about 2012 vintage, I’ve found the wines to really lack the soul they used to have. Wines have gotten pricier (somewhat understandably), and as the Parker scores have gone up, I’ve definitely liked them less.

Interestingly, a client opened and gave a long decant to the 2012 Pritchard Hill Cab, and immediately sold off what he had left. He hated it. He said he couldn’t remember the last time he opened a wine it was that hot. This guy drinks Schrader all the time too.

I suppose, but there are plenty of $25-ish Cab/Cab blends that are better than this flabby sweet mess of a wine. Mondavi Oakville, Smith and Hook, even Beringer Knights Valley. Plus, for $25, I can get any number of Ridge Zins that are super complex and age-worthy.

I’m just a sucker for the ‘mountain’ thing, I guess.

Sorry to hear that the Chappellet “Mountain Cuvee”* was a disappointment.

As the whole “Napa thing” on wine labels was explained to me years ago, unless a mountain-based producer’s wine is labeled “100% estate-grown”, the bottom-tier Cab/blend will be composed of a little leftover estate fruit and a whole lot of valley floor/Pope Valley/??? fruit.

That’s why the generic releases from many higher elevation wineries are soft and voluptuous, while the higher-tiered estate-grown wines are firmer and more coiled up.

*“Warning: May not contain mountains.”

not a fan of this wine in general, would rather have all of the other options you mentioned Todd

Hi Todd

The 16 is better. Has a bit more Cab in it.
I like these as they are decent for the price.

What I really like in this price range in Round Pond’s Kith & Kin Cabernet.
Quite nice for the same price.

I like the Mountain Cuvee.

My thoughts were similar on a 2012 a few years ago

I will be a detractor. I thought it was pretty good. It def is soft, but I didnt find it overly sweet or jammy. Easy cellar defender and crowd pleaser. Different strokes, I guess.

I have one of these I’ll open this weekend blind. It’ll go up against a Faust and a to be named later draft pick.

The 2012 was ok, the 2013 was better and the 2014 was barely ok. I stopped buying/trying.

I wanted to make this a fair fight so I looked through my gift box and found some good equivalent bottles.
2015 Kirkland Cab
2015 H3
2015 Chappellet Mountain Cuvée (37% Merlot 34% Cabernet Sauvignon 11% Malbec 11% Petit Verdot 7% Cabernet Franc)
I got these ready then my daughter blinded them, fun experiment for her…very scientific she thought.
1-fruity but muddled, a little oaky in a bad way.
2-strong nose, soft, forward and fruity, not bad on its own.
3-shy nose, some structure, not giving much (I strongly suspect this is the SLD)
I left these to breath in the glass and finished making supper then tried with food
1-no change, this isn’t great but isn’t terrible. I call it as Chappellet
2-this isn’t bad at all and a decent qpr, soft enough to serve non geek company. H3
3-this has really opened up and shows way better with food. This has to be the SLD and it is.

So, I’m awful at notes, and I think it was dumb luck I made the right pick between the MC & H3 I won’t be buying the Mountain cuvée again, or any of the others to be honest. I wonder if it would benefit from having less Petit Verdot, because it had a harsh finish.


I was a regular buyer of the Mountain Cuvée and Signature Cab from 2005 until 2010. Things went downhill with the 2011 Signature, which was pretty terrible. I chalked that up to vintage and bought a few of the 2012 expecting a return to quality…nope, instead the spoof took over. To be fair, it was a bit noticeable in the 2010s as well but they at least still tasted like Chappellet.

There’s not necessarily Pritchard hill fruit in the cuvée. Their talking sheet says “blended from the traditional Bordeaux varietals, including our own coveted grapes”. Sounds like it’s only mountain in name, probably has a small % to keep the talking points and labeling from being blatantly false.

Funny you say that about the 2010s. I thought the same thing!