This weekend, we hosted a group of friends for an afternoon of wine focused around a vertical of Heitz Martha. With a long history of tasting Heitz Martha, there are few vintages we have not tried. The 1974 and 1985 have been two of our favorites to date, and as luck would have it, would be our first time tasting one of the wines, a 1967 Heitz Martha. For this tasting, it was a smaller group so pour sizes were generous and allowed us the opportunity to revisit over the afternoon. A bottle was opened from every decade Heitz has made wine from Martha’s Vineyard. All wines were served pop and pour, and none of them were flawed. Brief observations of all bottles opened follow:
Jacques Selosse Initiale (disgorged Oct 2006) – Served in Riedel Chablis glasses, a smooth easy drinking Champagne. Notable roasted walnuts up front, with yeast and earthy qualities in the background. A mature, balanced, complex wine that drank more like a still white wine than a Champagne. With no signs of oxidation, thought it was absolutely gorgeous, in a sweet spot right now.
2002 Jean Marc Brocard Valmur – Fully mature, at first thought this was going to be a very good Chablis. Had a nice crisp oyster shell palate, though pretty light bodied. Did not pickup any sweetness, sometimes apparent with the producer. Revisiting the wine after about 15 minutes on, it began a relative quick decline. Did not enjoy the wine as much as others at the table.
Heitz Martha Flight
1967 Heitz Martha – An excellent, elegant, highly age worthy wine! Heitz Martha is noted for its tell tale eucalyptus nose, and this wine had it, though subtle. Amazing fruit, tannin and acid balance with a mix of herbs, spice, meat and earth. A lighter to medium bodied wine, noted no signs of oxidation. There is no rush to open this wine, several hours after first opening, the wine maintained its profile. It has a long future ahead of it. Overall, thought it was an outstanding wine and wine of the flight.
1977 Heitz Martha – A close second for wine of the flight. Enjoyed it for very different reasons. The wine had a more liquor quality to it, yet with a rustic backbone that became baked fruits in time. A big nose, more powerful fruit in contrast to the 1967, wondered if this wine could be the 1967 with another 10 years of age? Like the 1967, no signs of oxidation, and plenty of potential for continued aging. An excellent drinking wine.
1980 Heitz Martha – Some mint, tight, lean, some background spice, it picked up steam the more it sat in the glass, but never quite achieved the level of complexity or greatness like that from the 1967 and 1977. This was just an ok wine, more one dimensional, it had all the tell tale characteristics of Heitz Martha, just toned down on every front. There would be no additional benefit to continue aging this wine. Overall, just ok.
1990 Heitz Martha – Far riper than the previous three bottles tasted, thought it third best wine of the flight. It had clean, deeper red fruit, some chocolate, and more perceivable eucalyptus than the other wines opened. Maintained a consistent style through the bottle. About a glass remained, and revisited the next day. Still a very big style of Heitz Martha, showed better on day two. The wine will benefit significantly with additional cellar aging.
2005 Heitz Martha – A far different style than any of the wines tasted, more blue fruits than red, big, sweet, almost barrel sample like. Made in a more modern California Cabernet style. Overall, thought it was disappointing from a vintage we have tasted so many nice wines. Perhaps with additional cellar aging, it will come around. A wine worth revisiting in the future.
1985 Cos d’ Estournel – Wine the day, thought this was an exceptional wine. Had everything that makes for a great Bordeaux, tremendous balance and complexity! Thought it was a darker fruit based wine than the Heitz, also noted some coffee, dark chocolate, and exotic grainy spice. Another outstanding 1985 Bordeaux!
Last year tasted a vertical of Louis Martini Cabernet (50’s through 80’s), this year Heitz Martha Cabernet (60’s through 00’s), what should we do next year?
Santa Rosa Fine Wine