by Sergio Sismondo

A visit to Heitz Cellar is a delight for every wine lover; beginner or connoisseur, amateur or professional. The new tasting room, opened in 2002, is located on the East side of the St. Helena Highway (Route 29), north of Zinfandel Lane, on the original vineyard estate. The Tasting Room is a large and comfortable, elegant, and beautifully decorated hall emphasizing mahogany and rock. There is a large porch on the back, covered by a distinctive pergola, with a breathtaking view of a lovely vineyard. Architecture, decoration and gardens are formal and elegant. Staff is knowledgeable and attentive to guests' needs. And, of course, the wines are excellent.

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We tasted a range of wines, Chardonnay, Zinfandel, Cabernet-Sauvignon, Grignolino and a Grignolino Port. All the wines were excellent and we rated most of them in the 90's.

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Cabernet-Sauvignon Trailside Vineyard 1998 94
Cabernet-Sauvignon Bella Oaks Vineyard 1998 90
Cabernet-Sauvignon Napa Valley 2001 90
Chardonnay Cellar Selection 2001 90
Chardonnay Cellar Selection 2002 89
Grignolino Port Napa Valley 2000 91
Grignolino Port Napa Valley 2001 90
  • Our preference for a white wine goes to the Chardonnay, Cellar Selection, 2001. A great wine with elegance and finesse. It is priced at $30, and our rating was 90.
  • Our choice of the best red wine tasted was the Cabernet-Sauvignon, Trailside Vineyard, 1998, which is priced at $70 and we rated 94. This is a superb wine of great complexity, with great palate, excellent balance and structure and long finish. It is a treat to drink now, but can also be aged for years to come.
  • Our "Best value for money" choice goes to the Grignolino Port, 2000, a wonderful dessert wine, with 18.5 % alcohol, which is priced at $20 and which we rated 91. This wine has the double distinction of being the only Grignolino varietal made in Napa Valley.

There is a 10% discount for case purchases.

The Zinfandel wines which we tasted are included in the extensive Zinfandel listing in this web site, in the section "Wine Listings / California - Zinfandel".