Chad’s Private Reserve Over-Delivers
Chad’s over-delivering 2015 Private Reserve is back, for a brief minute today. A mountain Cabernet of great power and finesse, it hails from grapes grown in the foothills of Atlas Peak at an estate that has produced many wines celebrated by Robert Parker — wines that carry up to $115 price tags. Chad’s 2015 Private Reserve easily stands shoulder to shoulder with Cabernets priced in the same ballpark. Polished and superbly aromatic, revealing layers of black cherry and bramble, accented by violet, mocha, and rugged mountain herb notes, the 2015 is truly a rare offering. At $30 per bottle, just 125 cases will be gone in a flash.
As we swirled and sniffed Chad’s deep-ruby-hued Private Reserve Cabernet, the fireworks were going off and we hadn’t even tasted it. Chad is often the first call for elite Napa wineries with juice to spare — they know he’ll give the fruit its due. Such was the case with Chad’s 2015 Private Reserve, giving new meaning to the “iron fist in a velvet glove” simile.
As usual, a lengthy NDA had Chad balking at our questions about the estate. “Here’s what I’ll say,” he offered. “If you thought the 2014 was good — this is a mind-bender. My 2014 was already the best wine ever, even before I gave it another nine months in 100% new French oak and WHAM,” he shouted, pounding his fist on the table. “That was a beauty.” Then, pointing at our glasses, he just smiled, shaking his head for about 30 seconds. “But this 2015,” he finally blurted out, grinning ear to ear, “this is just something else altogether. It’s got the layers of red fruits and black fruits, it’s got the tannin structure to go two decades, and it’s got a finish that’d have Nascar drivers calling it quits.”
That line made us smirk. But after tasting Chad’s 2015 Private Reserve it was clear that he had more than a point. We recalled something critic James Suckling told us at a recent tasting. “If you’re 95-100 points on a wine,” he said, “it means you want to drink an entire bottle yourself.” So, with that in mind as we tasted and analyzed the layers of complexity in this Private Reserve, literally glass after glass, trying to get Chad to admit something — anything — it wasn’t long before 2-ounce pours became 4-ounce pours, and then 6-ounce pours, and before we had even committed to as many bottles as Chad would give us — the bottle was empty.
Even we can get carried away on the job. But only when it counts. And knowing how strong our Chad fan-base is, every minute counts today, because our 200 cases will be gone well before the closing bell.