Posted on 15-03-2017

Author: Steven Roebuck of "Wine Value Ratings"

Date: 8/17/2016

Wineries in the Napa Valley seem to keep pushing their prices up higher and higher, making it hard to find wine at a good or even great value.  I remember when quality wines were considered expensive and their price point was just above a hundred dollars, and now many of them are over two hundred dollars a bottle.  It seems that wine is outpacing inflation as prices all over the world seem to continue to rise. 
I’m not afraid to spend money; however, I try to make sure I’m getting the best bang for my buck.  Thus, finding value is always fun for me and I even get excited about it.  During my last trip to the Napa Valley I found the wines wonderful as always, but the prices seem to keep climbing up.  Thus there are a few wineries that are making fantastic wines that are still reasonably priced, if not underpriced.  I always get a kick out of finding wines that are better in quality than higher priced wines, so I felt compelled to highlight some of these hidden or lesser known wineries. 

Chappellet Vineyard & Winery
1581 Sage Canyon Road,
St. Helena, California 94574 USA
Phone:  800-4-WINERY
This winery is a little difficult to find but worth it!  Be sure to get directions when making your appointment and you will find yourself driving up a beautiful hillside filled with majestic old oak trees.  After making your way up to the top of Pritchard Hill you will find a wonderful setting and building that embraces its surroundings.  We were greeted by Diana Gerlach who has worked at the winery for over eight years and impressed us with her knowledge and history of the winery.  Diana took us on a wonderful tour of the winery and vineyards, while continuing to educate us and pouring us different wines along the way.  While walking through the vineyard we were excited to run into different family members of Chappellet, who were both warm and welcoming.  After having a lovely walk through the vineyards we found ourselves back in the winery tucked away in a private corner surrounded by wine barrels where we indulged in more beautiful wines. 

Diana Gerlach & Vashti Roebuck
2014 Chappellet Chenin Blanc "Molly Chappellet"
This Chenin Blanc displayed a bright and inviting bouquet of orange blossoms, pear, sweet pineapple, almonds, and other tropical fruits.  The wine was crisp on the palate with superb acidity and balance.  This wine had beautiful flavors of ripe pears, honey, pineapple, citrus, and soft minerals on the finish.  The wine was expressive and refreshing with layers of tropical fruit. 
Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $32
2013 Chappellet Signature Chardonnay
This is my style of chardonnay, as it had aromas of ripe apple, kiwi, lychee, apricot, lemon grass, and savory herbs.  The wine was rich on the palate with hints of citrus, apple, baking spices, and other beautiful lush fruit flavors.  This chardonnay reminded me of the balanced and structure you usually find in White Burgundy. 
Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $45
2012 Chappellet Napa Valley Merlot
Blend:  80% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot
This Right Bank Bordeaux style blend is absolutely wonderful!  The wine gives off a rich bouquet of black currants, cassis fruit, cherries, mocha, anise, herbs, and oak.  The wine is medium + in body with rounded tannins that give way to a palate blanked in hints of plum, cassis fruit, cherries,  leafy herbs, and soft spice.  The wine is complex with layers of concentrated fleshy fruits that are balanced with herbs and spice.  This wine is drinking great right now and should be extremely food friendly. 
Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $45

Stephen Roebuck, Cyril Chappellet, Vashti Roebuck
2012 Chappellet Zinfandel
Blend:  96% Zinfandel, 4% Petite Sirah
This wine is made from 44 year old zinfandel vines grown in the Mayacamas Range at 2,000 feet above the Napa Valley floor.  This wine is brilliantly concentrated with an expressive bouquet of blackberries jam, cherries, chocolate, white pepper, spice, oak.  The wine is medium to full-bodied with solid tannins that lead to a finish displaying hints of ripe figs, dark wild berries, brownie mix, spices, and earthy minerals.  This wine was a little closed on my first approach but opened up over time in the glass.  The wine is complex with bold but balanced dark fruit that harmonizes nicely with terroir notes.  This wine is quite youthful and still needs a few more years of cellaring. 
Extremely Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $40

Chappellet Zinfanel
2013 Chappellet Napa Valley Las Piedras
Blend:  46% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, 14% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot
This deep dark purple wine had a beautiful bouquet of blackberries, plum, cassis fruit, burnt sugar, espresso, toasted oak, and spiced herbs.  The wine was medium to full-bodied with rounded tannins that gave way to a balanced palate coated in blueberries, blackberries, sage, espresso dust, cigar box, and other terroir notes.  This Left Bank Bordeaux styled wine is complex with a velvety rich palate, comprised of bold yet elegant fruit flavors that blend nicely with hints of dusty earthy minerals.  This wine is cellar worthy and will reward those whom have some patience. 
Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $60
2009 Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend:  76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 9% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot
This ruby red wine had a fantastically expressive bouquet of black cherries, blackberries, cassis fruit, tobacco, sage, chocolate, and oak.  This medium + body wine had silky tannins that gave way to a luxuriously long finish that coated the palate with hints of dried cherries, supple blackberries, sweet dark wild berries, wet minerals, soft herbs and oak.  This is a brilliantly rustic yet sophisticated wine that exudes elegance.  The wine is complex with layers that harmoniously blend and balance beautifully together.   This wine is drinking great right now but should continue being wonderful for years to come, as it could easily be cellared for another 10 years. 
Extremely Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $75


Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
While concluding our tasting Alexa Chappellet Flagler made it a point to come join us after meeting us in the vineyard.  Alexa was warm and personable and extremely approachable.  She indulged us in some additional tastings of their beautiful Pinot Noir and showed off bottles with artwork composed by her and other family members.  This special time spent with Alexa and Diana made our experience a memorable one.  This winery is producing some fantastic wines that are of the highest quality!

Stephen Roebuck, Vashti Roebuck, Alexa Chappellet


Hyde De Villaine Wines
588 Trancas Street,
Napa, California 94558 USA
Phone:  707-251-9121
This winery has some interesting lineage that connects them to Burgundy, France.  If you are a Chardonnay fan then this is a must try winery, as their Chardonnay was the best I tasted in all of Napa on my visit.  That being said, there is no discounting their reds, as all of the wines are wonderfully made due to the talents of winemaker Stephane Vivier, whom hosted us with James Eyer.  This quaint property may not have the prominent ambiance of a big Napa winery; however, their wines are of the highest quality! 

Vashti Roebuck, Stephane Vivier

2014 HDV De La Guerra Chardonnay
This beautiful wine had a fresh bouquet with aromas of crisp green apple, lemon blossoms, and wet river rocks.  The wine had good acidity and balance displaying a clean palate with bright fresh flavors.  This wine has a sophisticated structure with nice depth that leads to a long bright finish. 
Average Price $45
2014 HDV Chardonnay
White flowers, peach, orange blossoms, honey, and soft minerals wafted from my glass giving this wine a beautiful bouquet.  This wine was medium to full body on the palate displaying balanced acidity.  The wine has excellent focus with hints of citrus, peach, and honey.  This wine has complex layers of fresh fruit flavors and a soft minerality.  This wine is incredibly well made and should continue to evolve nicely over the next few years. 
Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $65

HDV Chardonnay
2014 HDV Comandante Chardonnay
This chardonnay was truly lovely!  Having the structure and sophistication you would expect from a Grand Cru White Burgundy this wine had a bouquet with aromas of citrus blossoms, green apple, river rock, honey, and flowers.  This wine is heavier on the palate than the 2014 HDV Chardonnay and more concentrated with elegant layers of fruit and minerals.  This chardonnay is just stunning with fresh acidity that balances perfectly with the richness and finesse of this wine.  Another incredibly well made wine that will continue to evolve nicely over the next few years. 
Extremely Highly Recommended! 
Average Price:  Call HDV
2012 Californio Syrah
Blend:  100% Syrah
The wine had a deep dark garnet color with purple hues.  Wafting from my glass was a bold bouquet with aromas of blueberries, blackberries, cassis fruit, cherries, violets, smoldering tobacco leafs, and earthy minerals.  The wine was full bodied yet elegant with rounded tannins that gave way to a luxurious finish displaying hints of wild blue and black berries, plum, soft herbs, tobacco, and wet earthy minerals.  This wine is complex with layers of dark fruit and earth that harmonize beautifully together, and it displayed the sophistication you would expect from a Grand Cru Hermitage from Rhone. 
Extremely Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $75
2012 Belle Cousine
Blend:  70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon
This Right Bank Bordeaux style wine will not disappoint!  The wine has a deep opaque red color and an impressively concentrated bouquet with aromas of fleshy cherries, blackberries, currents, exotic spice, herbs, and oak.  This wine is medium to full body with ripe tannins that integrate harmoniously with a long luxurious finish displaying elegant red and black fruits, soft spice, crushed herbs, and earthy terroir notes.  This wine is in its infancy and will continue to evolve for those with the patience to cellar it, as it could easily be laid down for 10 more years. 
Extremely Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $75

Vashti Roebuck

Romeo Vineyards & Cellars
1224 Lincoln Ave,
Calistoga, California 94515 USA
Phone:  707-942-8239
The tasting room for Romeo Vineyards & Cellars is located in downtown Calistoga, just behind the owners beautiful home.  This hidden gem has a beautiful patio with a majestic old redwood and cedar tree, which provides a nice shaded area for wine tasting outside.  Inside the tasting room you can often find Eugenia Romeo (the owner) whom is personable, warm, kind hearted, and just a wonderful person to talk with due to her plethora of information and knowledge about the Napa Valley.  I have made it a point to visit this winery several times, as the wines are consistently extremely good! 

Stephen Roebuck, Eugenia Romeo
2009 Romeo Vineyards & Cellars Sempre Vive “Old Vine” Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend:  100% Cabernet Sauvignon
It is extremely hard if not impossible to find cabernet sauvignon vines that made it through the 1990 when phylloxera hit the Napa Valley, as everyone replanted with phylloxera resistant root-stock.  This wine is truly special and always keeps me coming back to this winery.  The 2009 vintage has a lush bouquet giving off hints of cassis fruit, dark cherry, blackberry, vanilla, and minerals.  The wine was full body but exuded finesse and elegance as rounded tannins gave way to a long luxurious finish displaying notes of blackberries, dark cherries, caramel, herbs, oak, and dusty minerals.  The wine is complex with layers of rich dark fruit that harmonize with delicious earthy hints of terroir.  Drink now through 2029! 
Extremely Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $75
2011 Romeo Vineyards & Cellars Sempre Vive “Old Vine” Cabernet Sauvignon
Blend:  100% Cabernet Sauvignon
This wine is made from vines that were planted over 40 years ago!  I believe this is one of the best wines in Napa for the 2011 vintage, as it has an amazing bouquet of black cherries, currents, cassis fruit, vanilla, oak, minerals, and forest floor.  The wine is robust yet sophisticated with rounded tannins that give way to a velvety palate displaying hints of cherries, blackberries, cocoa, caramel, cedar, and dusty earth.  This wine is complex and layered, displaying good depth and balance.  This wine is drinking beautifully right now but has the potential to be cellared for another 10 years effortlessly. 
Extremely Highly Recommended! 
Average Price $75
The wines being made at Romeo Vineyards & Cellars are all of the highest quality.  I have yet to have a bad glass of wine at this winery, and feel these wines are only reasonably priced because they are so far under the radar.  These wines age beautifully and never disappoint!  As a founding partner of Wine Value Ratings I’m always excited when I find wines made of the highest quality that are fantastically priced. 

Stephen Roebuck
"Wine Value Ratings"