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There are a lot of great family names in wine making and when it comes to great Cabernet Sauvignon, one of California’s best is Heitz. Joe and Alice Heitz began producing great cabernets back in the early 60’s and Heitz Cellar continues to produces great wines today under the leadership of their kids Kathleen and David with a third generation of the family also becoming active.
Heitz Cellar is best known for its Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon and it is, indeed, a great treat if you love and respect well-crafted and superbly aged Cabernet Sauvignon. Its consistency is one of the reasons Wine Spectator named Heitz Cellar Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon one of the top 12 wines of the 20th Century.
Another great Cabernet from this family winery comes from their Trailside Vineyard. The Heitz family acquired this vineyard in 1984. With gently sloping land along Conn Creek, the Heitz family applies their same organic practices here as they do on Martha’s Vineyard. They also apply the same care and skill in ageing their wine. It spends 3 ½ years on oak and then additional time in the bottle for release. The wine is capable of continued ageing and development in your cellar.
I discovered just how well when good friend Jared presented, as a gift, a bottle of 1998 Trailside Vineyard. It was in a single word, superb. Well aged, well balanced and with all the nuances and complexity you would expect in a great cabernet. It was a thoughtful and treasured gift that will be long remembered.
The memory will be enhanced by the fact that I shared the bottle with the ever-fetching Mrs. Wine Guy on the occasion of her completing her final day of work and joining me in retirement.
A good wine always makes a great occasion extra special. Here’s hoping each of you gets that opportunity soon. Salute!