It's been a long time in the works. So it is with the Peter Mondavi family. It has always been the tortoise to Robert Mondavi's hare. The hare no longer exists as it once did, but the Peter Mondavi family, owners of Charles Krug Winery, is stretching its neck out with a new signature wine called Aloft, made by Thomas Brown. It comes from a family-owned site on Howell Mountain, above the Napa Valley floor, territory that is relatively new to the Krug Mondavis, as they're often known, who make most of their Napa wines from valley floor grapes.
Along with Ridge Monte Bello, Heitz Martha's Vineyard is one of California's longest running single-vineyard Cabernets. Since 1962 for Ridge and 1967 for Martha's, these two Cabernets have been made continuously by the same respective wineries. They are grands crus in the purest spirit of the word.
Last year, Heitz celebrated its 50th year in business, and the Martha's Vineyard Cabernet remains a consistently complex, well-defined, distinctive expression of terroir. When the 2007 Martha's (94 points, 1,330 cases made) passed through my office the other day in a blind tasting, I wondered if the wine in the brown paper bag could possibly be Heitz. It had all the telltale signs: the minty chocolate-covered cherry aromas, the firm, dense and concentrated body, and long, persistent finish. It's the best new Martha's I can remember in years. Make that decades.
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