1990 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon Martha’s Vineyard- USA, California, Napa Valley, Oakville (4/22/2017)
Decanted for an hour and then followed for another hour. Rebecca wanted a Cabernet and she picked a Zalto-worthy wine. Bought as a lot of five from the Zachy’s auction a few years ago. A really delicious wine with dark red cherry fruit and herbs. The tannin is almost all resolved. Was there eucalyptus in this bottle, the classic tell for Heitz Martha’s? I tasted a bit, which was not present in the prior bottles, but I do not know if that was the decant or mind over matter. Very smooth and elegant but still plenty of flavor. My son, he who once exclaimed when I suggesting boycotting Pax 1.0 due to the obnoxious bottles, “But dad, it’s Pax!,” enjoyed it and gladly drank his share of the bottle.
Lots of sediment in the bottle - needs a careful decant. (93 pts.)
The Martha’a tell (those seductive eucalyptus aromas) disappeared after the plants surrounding the vineyard were removed (they were not part of the Martha’s Vineyard property).
My impression is that susequent vintages have not approached the legends of 1968 (possibly the best Napa CS I’ve ever tasted), 1970, and 1974.
Martha’s Vineyard was replanted after the 92 vintage. Heitz didn’t produce another MV cab until 96.
I met Laura May Everett at a MV tasting in NYC last fall. I asked her about the eucalyptus notes. She said Mondavi asked the family to remove the eucalyptus trees along their shared border, but they insisted they remain.
Last fall I tasted the 90 MV next to the Heitz reg cab. The MV was richer and more voluptuous. I didn’t attribute that to being mint or eucalyptus. (It was surprising how good the reg cab was.) At that same tasting we also compared the 90, 91, and 92 MV to the 96 and 97 MV. All good and surprising the consistency from the old MV to the replanted.