2000 Heitz Martha's Vineyard: A bad vintage, a great wine

11 years ago by Tim

2000 was a notoriously bad year for California wine across the board and especially so for Cabernet - a vintage which Parker gave a paltry 78 to, and of course overshadowed by a stellar 2001 vintage. Certainly, this is reflected in the price. Heitz sells most vintages of this wine for $200, while listing this for only $110, and the PLCB was able to bring this in as a Chairman's Selection at a price ($59.99) that is by far the best price in the country.

That said, vintage charts can be a funny thing. As Bruce Cass said, "2000 [reds] appear hard and meager compared to the robust quality of ’99 and the alcoholic lushness of ’01, but the longevity of ’00 may surprise many wine collectors." A great vintage, like a rising tide, raises all ships. Conversely, a bad vintage means that many wines are bad, but that doesn't mean you can't make a very good wine in a bad vintage. Not all of the ships sink.

In the end, I think this "bad" vintage has turned into a real steal - and a real treat - for PA wine drinkers.

On the nose, there's a ton of dark chocolate and red berries and a hint of age comes through with some leather notes. The nose is very elegant, and this continues on the palate. It's a very smooth wine, with well-integrated tannins and everything in balance. There's oak, but it's subtle. There's California fruit, but it's not over the top. The finish is spectacular - long & lingering. In all, it's a very classy glass of wine - elegance and restraint abound.

I was told this was released from the Heitz cellars, and it shows in the condition of the bottle and the immaculate cork. The wine has aged very nicely and still has a long life ahead of it.

While it may not compare favorably to other vintages of Heitz Martha's Vineyard, it's a really fantastic wine for this price - and in the end I judge my wines based on the quality relative to what I can get for the price. If you're in Pennsylvania, this is a great opportunity to try a top-quality wine with some bottle age. This is a wine I will definitely be buying at least a half-case of.

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