Why Buy: Heitz Cellar was among the handful of founding wineries of Napa, setting forth the philosophy and style that eventually captured the world.  Now in its seventh decade, it remains a family-run operation at a time when the vast majority of long-time producers have been purchased by corporations or larger concerns, and it continues to make exceptional, small-production wines that reflect patriarch Joe Heitz's uncompromising vision. These two single-vineyard Cabernets (only 3,612 cases and 4,627 cases made, respectively) garnered 96 and 94 points, but numbers alone don't speak to the deep expressiveness and nimble grace of these wines, which speak with an Old World soul.


What They're Saying: "Brims with dark currant, cherry, and loganberry fruit … [and]  a lush swath of menthol … all while notes of sweet tobacco and a hint of loam run underneath," Wine Spectator wrote, in a 96-point assessment of this "fine-grained" vintage of Martha's Cabernet Sauvignon. The publication also weighed in on the Rutherford Trailside Cabernet Sauvignon, calling it, in a 94-point review, "sleek and focused, with notes of damson plum, red currant coulis, and dark cherry preserves corseted tightly with singed tobacco, cast iron, and loam accents. Cedar and sanguine notes add a twang amid the dark fruit, giving the finish a mouthwatering edge."


The Story: Continuity, tradition, timeless truths, and the passionate pursuit of perfection. This is what the Heitz family has long stood for. And really, above and beyond all those noble traits, what stands is family, the bedrock of everything that Heitz is and does, going back to the very beginning, when Joe and Alice Heitz purchased their first property, an 8-acre vineyard south of St. Helena, in 1961. Joe had apprenticed under the legendary André Tchelistcheff, and, after a stint running the enology program at Fresno State, felt the time was right to try his own hand at winemaking. The competition was scarce. At that time, the wine industry in America was still slowly emerging out of Prohibition shock, and there were only around two dozen wineries in all of Napa. Three years later, the Heitz's acquired a 160-acre property, first planted to vines in 1880, setting them on a course to become, first, major players in Napa and then on the world stage, its Cabernets coveted by collectors across the globe, and each new release anticipated as if it were a new album drop from a pop star. But for all that, this remains a small operation (just 20 employees), with a family's sense of priorities. What is less well-known, because Heitz is not particularly vocal on this point, is that the estate is one of the largest certified organic grape-growers in all of Napa, with approximately three-quarters of the vineyards certified organic.


Our Tasting Notes: One of the characteristics of Heitz Cellar reds is that their acidity levels are, generally, a touch higher than that of other Napa Cabernets, a fact that has put off some critics, like Robert Parker, while others, like Wine Spectator, have traditionally embraced them for their complexity, elegance, and dynamism. Put us in the latter camp. And just add that a Heitz Cellar wine is always going to reveal itself and reward you most fully when it has been given some time to decant. The Martha's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, with grapes sourced from the Oakville region, is a big wine that goes down easy – in other words, a full-bodied and rich wine, with a lush and enveloping texture and carefully-developed flavors, but without the heaviness that can sometimes drag down a wine's soul. We found that same sense of balance, of proportionality, in the Rutherford Trailside Cabernet Sauvignon, which was sourced from 16 blocks of Cabernet Sauvignon that were planted with 7 different clones, in layers of 8 different soil types. The wine is so aromatically alive and so intricately and exuberantly spiced that we wondered what it would drink like after it had been opened for an hour or two, and  were impressed, and excited, to see it retain so much of its essential and vivid character.


Our Guarantee: We always buy and source directly from the estate, so rest assured: your wines will arrive in your hands with pristine provenance. Order yours today!


*Offer NOT valid in-store. This offer is made pre-arrival, with wines estimated to be delivered to your preferred store in Summer 2024. All sale prices are the lowest available at Total Wine & More and ONLY valid through Concierge Sales. No further discounts or coupons may be applied. Offer not valid in KS, MI, NY, or TN. This offer is for ONE WEEK, or until sold out, and will expire on Thursday, May 16th, 2024.