1976 Heitz Cellar "Martha's Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #900418 95 points John Gilman

 In the drought years of 1976 and 1977, the Heitz wines that I have tasted are some of the most brilliant examples to be found, and this is certainly true of the ’76 Martha’s Vineyard. This was the first time that I can recall tasting the 1976 and it is a beautiful bottle of wine that is now at its apogee. The deep and utterly brilliant nose soars from the glass in a complex and pure blend of cherries, blood orange, woodsmoke, mint, a touch of coffee, nutskins, cigar smoke and a wonderfully complex base of soil. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and beautifully transparent, with superb delineation and balance, fine mid-palate depth, melting tannins and stunning length and grip on the dancing finish. A great bottle that shows no signs of the more 'roasted' character evident in most Cabernets from this torrid vintage. (Drink between 2011-2030)  (6/2011)

92 points Robert Parker's Wine Advocate

 One of the ripest, richest Martha's Vineyard Cabernets, this wine is aging marvelously as the tannin has become less noticeable and the fruit more dominant. It reveals a deep, saturated, plum/purple color, and a huge, tell-tale, mint, cassis, and vanillin bouquet with vague earth and licorice notes. Exceptionally full-bodied, powerful, and chewy, with sensational extract, this concentrated 1976 has begun to strut its stuff. (RP)  (8/1994)

Wine Spectator

 Shows a healthy red garnet color. Strong aromas of mint and eucalyptus, with notes of dried red currant and earth, end up on the dry side, with a gritty edge. Yet this is deeply concentrated, and the flavors are focused, deep and persistent. A classy old Cabernet.--'76/'86 California Cabernet retrospective. (JL, Web Only—2007)

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Price: $359.99
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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.