Napa Cellars Reserve – 3-way Review

By Duane Pemberton
Winery website:

Napa Cellars’ reserve program has released three new releases that are all 100% varietal, made in small lots and designed to really showcase the terroir of the specific region the grapes were sourced from.


2010 Mount Veeder Chardonnay – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: Mount Veeder
  • Composition: 100% Chardonnay
  • Oak: 9 months, in 100% French Oak (73% new)
  • Alcohol: 14.2%
  • T.A.: 0.56g/100ml
  • pH: 3.91
  • Harvest Date: – October 9 – October 11, 2010
  • Release Date: April 2012
  • Cases: 525
  • Price: $32

Nose: Lightly buttered corn on the cob, honey, cantelope, marshmallow, chalk dust, apricot and a hint of elder flower.

Taste: This is a classic-tasting Napa-style Chardonnay that actually doesn’t kill the fruit with too much oak as so many Chardonnay’s do from that region. Good flavors of pear, golden delicious apple, honeysuckle, edlerberry flower and stem. It has very clean-tasting fruits with a nice roundness to the mid-palate and lingers with a finish that lasts as long as double-mint gum.

2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: Napa Valley
  • Composition: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Oak: 21 months, exclusively French oak  (100% new)
  • Alcohol: 13.8%
  • T.A.: 0.58g/100ml
  • pH: 3.69
  • Harvest Date: – October 13, 2009
  • Release Date: March 2012
  • Cases: 525
  • Price: $48

Nose: Red dirt-laced cherries, raspberries and rhubarb that have been dusted with bits of dark cocoa powder and leather. I also get a hint of furniture varnish, shoe polish and road tar.

Taste: THis is an incredibly gorgeous Napa cab without being “Napa Style” and for all the right reasons. It has well-controlled oak, tannin and acidity that completely balance the fruit. Excellent mid-palate transition that leads into a dry, inviting finish that hangs around for days.

2009 Dyer Vineyard Carneros Syrah – W.E.P. Rating: 90%

Technical Data:

  • Appellation: Carneros, Napa Valley
  • Composition: 100% Syrah
  • Oak: 18 months, in 100% French Oak (54% new)
  • Alcohol: 13.8%
  • T.A.: 0.58g/100ml
  • pH: 3.77
  • Harvest Date: October 2 – October 5, 2009
  • Release Date: February 2012
  • Cases: 400
  • Price: $28

Nose: Pencil lead, blueberry, blackberry, smoke, beef jerky,black pepper, plum, chalk dust and chocolate powder.

Taste: Nice combo of blue and black fruit that hit me right away and this is followed by good hints of lead, ink, leather strap, chocolate and black peppercorn. The mid palate exhibits good acid and fruit, however, the tannins are slightly “off” for me right now – I’d love to try this wine again in a few more years. It does finish good, overall, but it’s still too early to tell how good it should be in just a few more short years.