Visit to Bryant Family Vineyard: Pritchard Hill Perfection
Nestled high above Lake Hennessey in legendary grape-growing region Pritchard Hill, and surrounded by such legendary Napa Valley wineries as Chappellet and Continuum, sits Bryant Family Vineyards.
We had the very fortunate opportunity to visit the property in 2013 right after the incredible 2012 harvest and were really impressed with our experience. The winemaker at the time, Todd Alexander, greeted us in front of the large doors that also bares the name of the winery. Walking through their production facility, it is clear that it is a small operation and yet it is meticulous in its attention to detail. From there, a door leads into the cellar that houses barrels with the previous vintages of wine that have yet to be bottled as well as proprietor Don Bryant's personal stash of Bryant wines.
Todd grabbed a couple of bottles and we finished our tour around a long table overlooking their vineyards. What makes the Bryant Family wines so special, he said, was that the vines get great sun exposure throughout the day and then see cooler temperatures coming off the lake in the evening which gives the wine such great balance and acidity. Also, everything is done by hand from the hand-picked grapes to the hand sorting to the meticulous care during the winemaking process so that the final product is of the utmost quality.
Todd poured us a 2008 Bryant Family Cabernet Sauvignon and the newest addition to their line-up, the 2009 Bettina Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2008 Bryant Family showed the best that day but it was obvious that the Bettina, while excellent, needed more time to open up and fully express itself. In my opinion, these were wines that reminded me of why I got into wine in the first place and gave me the same eye-opening experience that came with the very first Chateau Lafite Rothschild I ever had.
We often think fondly of that day with Todd and now seek out Bryant for many of our most special occasions!