Like much of the rest of the world, 2010 has produced some stunning wines in the Napa Valley. The season wasn’t at all easy, wetter to begin, then cooler and longer than usual, finishing with something of a heat spike. Phenolic ripeness was achieved while acidities were still high and sugars relatively low, so many of the wines will have a little less alcohol than usual, yet parade precise fruit profiles and an uplifting sense of deftness and elegance. The two Heitz wines on offer today, both tasted yesterday in our office, showcase much that is lovely about this vintage in a way that is entirely Heitz.
How to describe ‘entirely Heitz’ ? Well ‘Classical’ springs to mind, classical in a Napa Valley way. Here are wines that do not feel made in any way, that don’t have inky colours and glycerine loaded levels of super fruit. They have complex cabernet profiles and stony, dare I say it almost gravelly undertones. Most importantly, they don’t come across as tiring and heavy. They feel like they are made from perfectly ripe grapes, handled gentle in the winery and given extended ageing in barrel (up to 4 years for the top cuvees.) – which of course is exactly what they are. Classic, Traditional, heritage, call them what you will, these are unforced Napa Cabernet’s built to age gracefully.
Martha’s vineyard 2010 deserves a particular mention for it is verily a beauty. Complex and lithe, betraying that typical hint of classic eucalyptus and glorious acidity, it manages to be both nimble and rather profound. The gorgeous balance on display is what allows a wine of such impressive length to leave so light a footprint – this will surely be a wonderful Martha’s to follow for many years to come.