1998 Heitz Cellar Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #996990

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Price: $79.99

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Staff Image By: Ryan Woodhouse | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2018 | Send Email
I recently spent several days in Napa Valley at the annual Premiere Napa Valley event. This is an almost gluttonous opportunity to taste the finest wines of the region in a three day marathon of walk-around tastings, winemaker dinners and barrel auctions. After tasting several hundred wines over the course of the weekend, I can honestly say this one was the highlight...and it wasn't even close. I had the pleasure of sitting down with Kathleen Heitz (CEO) and Brittany Sherwood (Managing Winemaker) and Mark Neal (Viticulturalist) to taste some library bottles pulled directly from their cellars. This 1998 absolutely stunned me. It is about as perfect of an example of old school, beautifully mature Napa Cab as you could ever hope to find. Sure the blockbuster 1997 vintage got all press as the wines were ripe, rich and approachable in their youth. However here at K&L we love seeking out the very best "off vintage" wines. Many of us have found time and time again that the 1998s (a cool, wet, difficult Napa vintage) actually produced some of the most prolific and age worthy wines of the decade. This wine is the epitome of classic Napa Cabernet. Due to the coolness of the vintage and traditional wine making of Heitz, it does have some elements one could initially mistake for left bank Bordeaux...cedar, damp tobacco, spice box, leather and pencil shavings...but then comes a burst of red loamy earth, dark, lush mid-palate fruit, a whiff of eucalyptus and a ripeness of tannin that speaks of Napa (even in a cool vintage). Thanks to the inherent balance this wine possesses and the immaculate cellaring conditions under which it has been stored for the last two decades it is drinking beautifully. I would think it's approaching the peak drinking window now but probably has another 5+ years ageing potential with ease. This is quite simply an opportunity to drink an absolutely prime bottle of 20 year old Cabernet from one of the country's vinous treasures for an incredibly fair price. Don't miss this...when it's gone it's gone.

Staff Image By: Joe Bruno | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/19/2018 | Send Email
What a treat! I recently had the opportunity to try this 20-year old Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from celebrated producer Heitz Cellars alongside fellow colleagues. The vintage was notably cooler than typical in Northern California, and this is reflected in the fruit expression and acidity especially. The nose is quite expansive, with initial notes of dried blackcurrants, dark cherries, and sugar plums. The bouquet is expressive with old leather, dusty, chocolate mints, eucalyptus, pipe tobacco, and cedar. On the palate, the fruit quality is mature and veering towards dried characteristics alongside mineral flavors on the finish. There is a great deal of life left in this wine. I was quite surprised at the abundance of freshness and verve in a wine this old. This wine is drinking quite nice now, but I would surmise there are certainly years left cellar wise with this Napa Valley gem

Staff Image By: Christina Stanley | K&L Staff Member | Review Date: 3/16/2018 | Send Email
This is a rare opportunity to taste a Heitz Cabernet at the peak of It's complexity and finesse, ten years in. 1998 was a cold and rainy year in Napa Valley, and the fresh acidity of the fruit has enabled this wine to age gracefully, while still retaining a lush, aqueous quality. Bright and lifted spice aromatics entice, with wafts of black and white pepper, leather, tobacco leaf, black tea, cocoa powder and anisette. The palate is so expansive, with luminous notes of pomegranate and quince, tempered by rich blackberry and cassis, and finishes with elegant graphite minerality.

Additional Information:


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 M├ędoc 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. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- 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.