1985 Heitz Cellar "Martha's Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #900207 94 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 In some tastings this wine has been controversial because it was alleged to have a damp, woody, musty character. In the March tasting (my seventh look at this brilliant wine), I found it once again to be clean and hardly controversial - unless explosive richness and ripeness, as well as gobs of sweet fruit presented in a full-bodied, powerful style are objectionable. The wine was more developed and open than I expected. The mint/eucalyptus character, which can be extremely intense in the Martha's Vineyard cuvee, was presented in a subtle fashion. Expansive and chewy, with superb ripe fruit and concentration, this wine should continue to drink well for 10-20 years. (RP)  (4/1995)

Jancis Robinson

 Lovely, complex, minerally beauitfully balanced claret - not unlike Ch Latour, At its peak. A bottle from the late Bill Baker's cellar...  (1/2011)

Wine Spectator

 A touch of funk, mint and earthy mushroom aromas carry over to the palate, but it gains some richness, with more currant, coffee and cigar box nuances that give it a range of complexity.--1985 California Cabernet retrospective. Drink now. (Web-2005)

K&L Notes

96 points John Gilman: "I can distinctly recall from my early days in the wine trade the release of the 1985 Martha’s Vineyard, which was eagerly anticipated after it was announced that this was the first vintage to be graced with a special label since the legendary 1974. This was at the height of the winery’s popularity and the 1985 Martha's was an extremely difficult bottle to come by at the time of its release. Consequently, I had not seen a bottle in many years and was delighted to see it included in our vertical at the winery in June. The wine is flat out brilliant, as it soars from the glass in a mélange of black cherries, saddle leather, a great base of soil tones, eucalyptus, smoke, incipient notes of petroleum jelly and a very gentle framing of new oak. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and powerful, with a rock solid core of fruit, great complexity, moderate tannins and a very long, perfectly balanced, tangy and palate-staining finish. This is a very intense vintage of Martha's that is decidedly younger than the 1987 for instance, and still demands plenty of cellaring time. It will clearly prove to be a legendary vintage of Martha's and certainly has earned its special label. 2025-2100." ("Celebrating Fifty Years of Napa Valley Excellence" The View from the Cellar, Heitz Wine Cellars 6/2011. pg 31.)

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Varietal:

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.
Country:

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. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.
Sub-Region:

California

- 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. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
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.
Organic: