2019 Bryant Family Vineyard, Bettina Bryant Red, Napa Valley, Bottle (750ml) JS99/JD98
2012 Bryant Family Vineyard, Bettina Bryant Red, Napa Valley, Bottle (750ml) RP96/JS96

Evolution and Consistency: The Story of Bryant Estate

Nestled atop Napa's prestigious Pritchard Hill, Bryant Family is an iconic producer renowned for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon. Since its first vintage release in 1992, this small-yet-exquisite winery has achieved rapid success, becoming highly sought after by wine enthusiasts. Founder Don Bryant acquired the 13-acre vineyard, enlisting the expertise of acclaimed winemaker Helen Turley and vineyard manager David Abreu to lead everything from grape to bottle. The all-star duo of Turley and Abreu set the stage for an extraordinary entrance. Dive into the charm of one of Napa's original cult wineries.

 Bryant Family History: From Hobby to Profession

Initially founded by Don Bryant in 1986, Bryant Family Vineyard began as a 13-acre parcel on Pritchard Hill, overlooking Lake Hennessey. Initially meant to be a home and a wine-producing hobby, Don quickly recognized the vineyard's true potential and fully committed to producing the best wine possible with phenomenal results. Bryant Family Vineyard swiftly transformed into one of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon producers in California, achieving meteoric success. Today, Bryant Family Vineyards is celebrated as one of California's esteemed "Grand Cru" sites, and attained cult status almost instantaneously with the perfect blend of exceptional terroir and an all-star team.

Bryant Wine Team: A Journey Forward 

One of Don's most critical early decisions was enlisting world-renowned winemaker Helen Turley. Her influence propelled Bryant Family Vineyard onto the national stage, receiving impressive scores between 1994 and 1996, culminating in a monumental 100-point score in 1997, cementing its cult wine status. However, after the 2002 vintage, Helen Turley and Don went their separate ways when a lawsuit was filed between Turley and Bryant Family Vineyards.

Following Turley's departure, Don brought in the renowned French consultant Michel Rolland to work alongside tenured vineyard manager David Abreu, marking a new era for Bryant Family Vineyards. Over time, the winery collaborated with various talented winemakers, including Philippe Melka, Ross Wallace, Mark Aubert, Helen Keplinger, Todd Alexander, and Marc Gagnon. Today, the winemaker is spearheaded by the young and up-and-coming Kathryn "KK" Carothers, who has been the head winemaker since 2018. Despite changes in winemakers, the all-star tandem of David Abreu and Michel Rolland has remained, and the wines have retained their remarkable consistency, a testament to the Pritchard Hill vineyard and its "Grand Cru" status.

Bryant Family Vineyard: The Shining Star

The estate's "Grand Cru" vineyard, which produces Bryant Family Vineyards' flagship wine, has undergone strategic changes over the years to optimize ripeness. Resting on the slopes of Pritchard Hill, the vineyard was originally designed for the ease of farming. On the advice of David Abreu, the Bryant Family team began replanting the vineyard between 1996 and 2006, enhancing the grapes' potential with volcanic soils and cooling breezes from Lake Hennessey, protecting the vines from hot canyon winds.

The Bryant Family estate vineyard is planted with 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon. The high elevation, 800-2000 feet above sea level, and the volcanic clay loam soils are the key to the aromatic, rich, and classic characteristics of a Pritchard Hill wine. Many wine experts can even determine which wines are grown in the iconic region based on their unique characteristics.

This vineyard produces wines with extremely high aging potential, putting vintages from the 90s and early 2000s at the perfect stage for drinking, and the younger bottles perfect for collecting. The low production and high demand for these iconic bottles make them a rare find.

Bryant Wines: Art of Vinification

The vinification at the Bryant estate is done with the utmost attention to detail, using a collection of state-of-the-art temperature-controlled vats that coincide with specific parcels, allowing the winemaking team to vinify on a parcel-by-parcel basis. The grapes are handled with meticulous care and undergo a rigorous selection process that includes only the best grapes from their estate vineyard into their flagship wine, which is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.

In 2009, Bryant Family Vineyard expanded their premium red offerings with the release of "Bettina," named for Don Bryant's wife. The Bordeaux-style blend is integrates fruit from the estate vineyard with grapes from some of David Abreu's top sites, such as Madrona and Las Posadas, which Don says rival that of his own. The wines feature Cabernet Sauvignon at the forefront, while featuring an elegant, rounder texture and more refined tannins.

First released in 2007, a 2nd label "DB4," is a proprietary red blend sourced from 4 vineyard sites designed to be more approachable in youth. Other styles that Bryant Family Vineyards releases include varietal bottlings of Cabernet Franc and Chardonnay.

Even with the winemaking team's meticulous care in the winery, it's the vineyard that truly shines the brightest at Bryant Family Vineyards. Don Bryant attributes a great deal of the winery's success to David Abreu, who has overseen the vineyard for well over two decades. He also gives kudos to the great Michel Rolland, whose knowledge and expertise have helped a carousel of winemakers maximize the vineyard's potential. When you put it all together, you get one of the greatest wines in Napa Valley.

Bryant Family: A Napa Cult Wine Icon Atop Pritchard Hill

Over the years, prominent critics have continued to sing praises for Bryant Family Vineyards, and the wines have backed up their claims. They showcase an intensity of flavor, power, and texture built on the backbone of one of California's great "Grand Cru" vineyards. Whether you're a savvy collector or a young connoisseur, there's never a bad time to add a bottle of Bryant Family Vineyard's estate Cabernet Sauvignon to your cellar. We suggest bringing home a half dozen (or more!) to enjoy over the coming years. Happy drinking!

Back to Top ↑

Recently viewed