1978 Heitz "Bella Oaks" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

SKU #993057 90 points Wine Spectator

 No tasting note given.  (2/1984)

K&L Notes

Bella Oaks vineyard is located on the western valley floor in Rutherford, in the "knees" of the Mayacamas mountain range. It produces elegant, age-worthy wines, much like the neighboring Martha's Vineyard. The 1978 was the third vintage of the Bella Oaks, which was only made until 2006, when the vineyard proprietors passed away. According to the winery, "The 1978 Bella Oaks from Heitz is another very young and vibrant example of the vintage, and the wine really demands at least an hour of decanting time to blossom if it is to be drunk today. The wine is not overtly structured like the ’78 Burgess Vintage Select, but when first opened it shows an odd lactic or cheesy note that is not necessarily inviting. However, one hour on this characteristic is subsumed in beautiful fruit tones, and the wine begins to drink splendidly. Once blossomed, the nose is a superb blend of red cherries, orange, woodsmoke, a hint of mint, walnuts, a gentle bass note of bell pepper, chipotles, soil tones and a lovely high end of Rutherford spice tones. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and very fresh, with a fine core of cherry fruit, lovely soil tones, moderate tannins and lovely length and grip. A fine bottle of ’78 that is now nearing its apogee, but which will continue to drink beautifully for a very long time. 2009-2030. 91." (2011)

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Price: $159.99
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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.