2000 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard and 2010 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon

Wine Review: 2000 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha's Vineyard and 2010 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon
I really enjoy comparative tastings. I was in the mood for Napa Cabernet Sauvignon and found a classic bottle, 2000 Heitz Cellar's Martha's Vineyard on sale for half price so I had to have it. For fun, I decided to grab a younger Napa Cab, the 2010 Chateau Montelena to drink alongside.

Both wineries were a part of the legendary "Judgement of Paris" wine tasting of 1976, so the tasting was also with a wink and a nod back to these classic wines and their roots.

Let's start with the younger wine. Chateau Montelena has been sold since that legendary tasting in Paris, but the wine showed very nicely indeed. Beautiful color with a smoky, almost savory quality to the nose. Currants and bramble were in abundance, nice balance, full, soft tannins and relatively high acidity meant this is a Cab that would be really good with food. It's also one that I would recommend decanting. My first glass was tasty, but a little closed. My last glass a few hours later was rich and curranty with loads more character and complexity.


The 2000 Heitz Cellar Martha's Vineyard was a perfect example of what I think aging wine is all about. When I purchased it, the salesperson warned me that the vintage was on its way down, but I firmly disagree. While I don't think this wine will get better, I do believe it is drinking at its peak right now. Thirteen years has smoothed and softened the wine so it really delivers character and complexity. The color was garnet, just starting to turn ruby. Mint, cedar and cassis were all in the nose along with blackberry and soft tobacco. The tannins were supple and smooth, and the finish was gorgeously long and silky. Perfectly balanced and just a pleasure to drink. It is also one that can go with food, but when the wine is this good, I prefer it on its own.

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