Our Vice Echanson Mike Monnin has been making an effort to have winemakers and winery representatives visit Cincinnati and show off their bottlings, so we felt fortunate when he arranged for Jeanne Cabral, National Sales Manager for Heitz Wine Cellars, to join us at the new event space in Heidelberg Distributing-Kentucky to moderate a retrospective evening of Heitz wines. We could inspect the meeting room and cellar as well as sample some cellar-worthy wines.
Michael Forgus brought Funky’s Catering in to provide some delicious food to accompany our selections. Buffet items included spinach radicchio salad with pomegranate, dates, pear, and Pecorino with quince and mustard vinaigrette, sautéed beets, carrots, and turnips, Israeli cous cous with spinach, leeks, and pinenuts, and porcini cannelloni with Gorgonzola cream sauce.
We gathered together with glasses of Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc to be introduced to Jeanne and look around the new facility before sitting down to taste and learn about Heitz history. Our first red wine was little known Grignolino, a grape found in the original 8 acre vineyard purchased in 1961. Next we tried Ink Grade Vineyard Zinfandel which seemed appropriately named to the flavors and depth of the wine. The features of the evening were the renowned Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings; Napa Valley, Trailside Vineyard and Martha’s Vineyard. First up was the 2007 Cabernet which was well known as a great vintage. We stepped up with two vintages of Trailside, 2005 and 2007. These were noticeably of better quality than the already fabulous Napa Cabernet and seemed hard to surpass, but the best was yet to come. We next had two vintage of the famed Martha’s Vineyard Cabernet, owned by Tom and Martha May with an exclusive agreement to sell grapes to Joe Heitz starting in 1966 and continuing today with the next generation of the Heitz family. It was difficult to decide if one vintage might be better than the other but maybe was better to simply declare both as the best!
To finish our exceptional evening, Jeanne poured some Ink Grade Port, made from traditional varietals Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz, Sauzao, Tinta Cao, Tinta Bairrada, Tinta Madeira, Tinta Amarela and Bastardo. Chef Michael created a special take on campfire s’mores with house-made marshmallow and artisan chocolate. We thanked Jeanne for her generous time and effort to help us toast the New Year!
J.T. Mayer, Chargé de Presse Provincial Midwest