2005 Heitz Cellar "Trailside Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #1092097 92 points John Gilman

 The folks at Heitz are very bullish about the quality of the Trailside bottling, and given the quality of the fruit here, I can see why this is the case. But this wine has a bit of work to do carrying one hundred percent new oak, and at this young age it is still rather marked by its oak component on both the nose and (to a lesser degree) the palate. To be fair to this wine, it is three years younger than the ’02 Bella Oaks that was tasted alongside of it, and consequently it has had nowhere near the same amount of time to integrate its wood. In any case, underneath the bit of prominent new wood is a very, very classy wine which offers up scents of red and black cherries, exotic spices, lovely soil tones, smoke, Rutherford Dust and spicy wood. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and quite sappy at the core, with ripe tannins, impressively integrated wood on the backend (despite its prominence on the nose at this stage in its development) and impressive length and grip on the complex and chewy finish. I would love to see this bottling with half as much new wood, as the underlying raw materials are really impressive, but I have little doubt that it will blossom just fine with several more years bottle age. (Drink between 2016-2040) 92+ points  (6/2011)

90 points Wine Spectator

 This fine new release, with some bottle age, shows signs of subtle maturity. Aromas of mocha, cedar, dried currant and spice box follow through to a full body, This is well-built, with fine balance and good length. (JL, Web-2011)

K&L Notes

In the early 1980s, the Heitz Family acquired a marvelous Rutherford vineyard bordered on one side by the Silverado Trail and nudged on the other by the Conn Creek. Thus the Trailside Vineyard was born. Aged for three-and-a-half years in a combination of American and French Limousin oak, the 2005 is elegantly perfumed to complement a core of black cherry and finely textured, enduring finish with its hallmark note of cedar. "Trailside" is an opulent wine known for its overall powerful Cabernet varietal flavors and bold, lush profile. A worthy addition to any cellar, the 2005 is developing beautifully with many years left to go.

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Price: $79.99
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Cabernet Sauvignon and Blends

- Cabernet Sauvignon has come a long way from its role as a blending varietal, however dominant, in the wines of Bordeaux. Today it is the most planted red varietal in the world. Identified as a descendent of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc, the late-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon needs to be planted in warmer climates to fully ripen. Its small berries can easily be identified for their distinctive blue color, thick skins and high tannins. And while the varietal has its own definitive characteristics: green pepper-like aromas and black currant flavors among them, it is perhaps most prized for its ability to convey terroir, vintage and winemaking. A relatively new varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon started making inroads into the wines of the Médoc and Graves in the late-18th century. Today it is also dominant in the up-and-coming Entre-Deux-Mers region of Bordeaux and can also be found in Southwest France. It is the companion varietal to Sangiovese in Italy's Super Tuscans and is planted all over Europe, stretching to lesser-known winegrowing regions like Russia and Lebanon. In the Americas Cabernet Sauvignon has found champions in every nook and cranny of California and among winemakers in Washington, where it complements plantings of Merlot. In South America, Cab thrives in Chile, but can also be found in smaller amounts in Argentina and even in Mexico.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 14.5