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Wine from Chimney Rock

Wine from Chimney Rock

The Chimney Rock estate began to take shape in 1980, when Hack and Stella Wilson purchased a 180-acre parcel – which included a golf course – situated on the east side of the Silverado Trail. They built their country house based on Cape Dutch-style architecture and started planting vineyards shortly afterwards.

The first 59 acres were planted with a combination of red and white grapes, and the premier vintage of Chimney Rock estate wines was produced in 1984. In the early 1990s, the Cape Dutch-style winery building (with the massive allegorical frieze of Ganymede, cupbearer to the gods) and the tasting room were added to the estate. In 2000, the Terlato family joined the Wilson family as partners in the winery with added resources and the goal of enhancing Chimney Rock’s reputation for producing some of the world’s great estate Cabernet Sauvignons. In 2002, the remaining land, covering 46 acres, was planted entirely to Cabernet Sauvignon.

Since the Terlato family assumed sole ownership of Chimney Rock in 2004, they have had a clear vision of the potential of this great estate. They have steadfastly supported and shepherded only the highest standards in viticulture and winemaking. The Chimney Rock estate now comprises 119 acres of vineyards divided into 28 distinct blocks, allowing for highly specialized viticulture suited to each specific site.

Each year is a learning opportunity to continue to try different yeasts, different barrels, cap management techniques, and aging procedures. The goal of every vintage is to continue fine-tuning and producing the best expression of our renowned Stags Leap District estate red wines and our unique estate white wines.

The journey of winemaking begins every year as we pay close attention to watching our fruit develop, obsessively monitoring the growing season. We observe the fruit characteristics so that when our grapes are harvested, we are ready to make the critical decisions which will create magic in the barrel.

Winemaking is a life-long journey, and we are committed to learning from our grapes and listening to our vineyards to produce the best wines we can, year after year.

hen the Terlatos first became involved with the estate, they recognized that to make unique wines of exceptional quality, the estate’s world-class vineyards would require a winemaking facility of equal caliber. Accordingly, in 2002, they dedicated significant resources toward building a state-of-the-art winery. This new winemaking facility offers our winemaking team the ability to ferment each and every vineyard block separately, while also conducting small-lot experiments to fine-tune and further express the true spirit of the Chimney Rock estate. The accompanying climate-controlled barrel rooms allow for long-term aging of Chimney Rock wines in French oak barrels at the ideal temperature and humidity. What starts in the vineyard comes to fruition in the winery. Winemaker Elizabeth Vianna is deeply cognizant and intimately familiar with the estate's vineyards, and she fully captures the estate's unique terroir through meticulous vineyard management and careful, artistically minimal winemaking principles. This “non-interventionist” style of winemaking allows the winemaker to fully utilize that which this wonderful and unique Stags Leap soil is capable of delivering. The end result offers wines that are pristine and authentic in terms of varietal character, accompanied by a velvety taste in the mouth and astounding softness, balance, and cohesion.

  • Napa Green Certified by the California Land Stewardship Institute
  • 100% solar powered
  • Recycled water for vineyard irrigation used for over a decade
  • Integrated pest management – a combined biological, cultural, and natural chemical approach to pest management that minimizes environmental and health risks.
  • The use of cover crops planted between vineyard rows to help improve soil health.
  • Fostering predatory bird inhabitants to help with rodent control

Our practices include:
Of the 100 oldest businesses in the world, 10 of them are wineries. Family ownership and caring for the land allows for this type of longevity. As such, sustainability requires a long-term perspective — one that we fully embrace. We view ownership and participation in terms of generations. As stewards of the land, management of our certified green estate, with minimal impact, is of paramount importance. At Chimney Rock, it is this responsibility that guides our viticulture and winemaking processes.

The result of all this careful attention to the vines at Chimney Rock is a true expression of Stags Leap District “terroir” –— wines that resonate with intense flavors of cassis and blackberry, are refined, rich in color, balanced with finely structured tannins that — making our wines drinkable upon release, and for many years as they age gracefully.
All the grapes for Chimney Rock’s Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux style red blends are grown on the winery’s 131-acre estate at the southern end of the Stags Leap District. The winemakers capture the estate’s unique terroir through an innovative and meticulous approach to vineyard management.

The team has put resources toward individually developing, cultivating, and harvesting each unique vineyard block to maximize its potential. This intensely focused hands-on approach has led to the creation of 28 distinct vineyard blocks on our property.

In our pursuit to produce unique wines, we selected a few of the most distinctive vineyards to showcase the depth, range, and elegance of Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon. The Tomahawk, Alpine, Clone 7 and Ganymede vineyards are all within a quarter mile of each other; however, they each display remarkable and consistent individuality. Often wildly different from one another, these wines truly reflect the singular nature of the Chimney Rock estate, and it is no surprise that these wines are among the most coveted by our wine club members.

One of the many blessings we celebrate at Chimney Rock is the remarkable diversity of soil types in our vineyards. Our winemaking team individually develops, cultivates, and harvests each unique area to maximize its potential.

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Chimney Rock Tomahawk Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District Napa 2014

Tomahawk Vineyard is the pinnacle of the Chimney Rock estate. Comprised of a small group of vines which were planted in 2002, Tomahawk consistently produces intense, massively complex fruit. The ensuing wines are truly world-class, compelling, powerful and elegant with a remarkably lengthy finish.


The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Tomahawk Vineyard offers a darker fruited, meaty, masculine and mineral-driven style. Coming from a site in Stags Leap, and aged in 80% new French oak, it's medium to full-bodied and nicely textured on the palate, with solid balance, good ripeness, lots of tannins, and a good finish. Forget bottles for 4-5 years and enjoy over the following two decades.

-Jeb Dunnuck 93 Points

 93 Points
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