Skip to main content

Bryant Estate Tasting

Steve from the UK office recently had the pleasure of joining Bettina Bryant and KK Carothers of Napa’s incredible Bryant Estate for lunch. A great opportunity while they spent a few days in London promoting their soon to be released 2021s.

Bryant Estate

Bryant Family Wines: A Napa Fine Wine Benchmark:

I had very little experience with the Bryant Family wines. So, this was a great opportunity to taste them alongside Bettina (the owner) and KK (the winemaker).

Bryant have been at the top of their game for some time, now. To set the scene, Don L. Bryant purchased the 40 acre property overlooking Lake Hennessy on the slopes of Pritchard Hill in 1985. He soon realised the untapped potential of the site and replanted a 13 acre parcel with Cabernet Sauvignon. The rest is history.

By the time the first vintage, the 1992 was released, Helen Turley was the winemaker and many a highly regarded vigneron has passed between the vines since, including Philippe Melka, Mark Aubert and David Abreu. Kathryn (KK, a name given to her by her sister that has stuck ever since) Carothers, the incumbent winemaker was described by Antonio Galloni as ‘one of the most talented and detail oriented winemakers of her generation’ and is continuing in the tradition of producing world-class wines, returning after a stint as an intern a decade ago.



Expanding the Fine Wine Range:

For a long time, Bryant only produced one wine – the Estate Cabernet. This was the wine that built the world-class reputation. But, in recent times there have been a couple of well thought out additions to the range and a new white wine will also be released soon. The DB4 is a ‘second’ wine, if only in the sense that it is more accessible in style and price when compared to the Grand Vin. It’s a steal for the price it is offered at, and Bettina fears needing to raise the price to make it a sustainable project for the winery. Buy it now, is my advice.

The major addition in recent years has been the wine named for Bettina herself. This is a Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot. The fruit is sourced from David Abreu’s vineyards. The 2019 release is the first in a series of ‘Artist Labels’. Pop Art icon Edward Ruscha is the inaugural artist. The Bryants are prominent art collectors, and this makes for a stylish, eye-catching and very collectible addition to the range.


The 2021s From Bryant Estate are Poised, Elegant and Very Pure:

KK fully follows the principles of biodynamics in order to make gains in both the vineyard and the winery. However, Bryant Estate is not certified as such. This is a route that seems to be increasingly common. Producers get the benefits of biodynamics without the headache of inspectors, inspections and lengthy application forms. And making wine, as we all know, in Napa isn’t easy these days. Sadly, the fires of 2020 destroyed Betttina’s home. Additionally, the winery made the decision to let all of the fruit fall the ground. A lost vintage was followed by a vintage of drought – just 7 inches of rain fell in the entirety of the 2021 season, so yields are down again. That the 2021s I tasted are so poised, elegant and pure is testament to the abilities of KK in understanding how to get the best out of the vineyards here.

This is a Test 2