Winery of the Month – Heritance

Heritance has been described as the cornerstone Napa Valley brand of Taub Family Vineyards, but its history predates the Taub family’s recent acquisition of the winery. The name Heritance combines the words ‘heritage’ and ‘inheritance’- two important concepts signifying a new tradition and the continuation of an enduring legacy championed by Heritance’s founders, Bernard Portet and Don Chase.

Bernard’s exposure to the wine business came courtesy of his father, who was a technical director at Chateau Lafite Rothschild. In 1970, Bernard was assigned the task of sourcing premium vineyard sites in Napa to grow Cabernet, which led to Clos du Val. He rose to worldwide fame when his first vintage Cabernet was one of six selected for the now famous Paris Tasting of 1976. After his ‘retirement,’ Bernard started sourcing grapes from some of the best wineries in Napa, allowing Heritance to focus on the best Napa had to offer.

A few years ago, the Taub family bought Heritance, which now makes two varietals (Cabernet and Sauvignon Blanc) and just four wines. Winemaker Thomas Hinde, who cut his teeth at Yao Ming Wines and Cardinale and Lokoya wineries, has an excellent pedigree for producing some of the finest wines out of Napa and upholding the tradition of restraint and elegance regardless of price point.

Heritance continues to utilize some of the best grapes from the best sites in St. Helena, Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford, and more specifically from the ultra-impressive Beckstoffer Georges III Vineyard. All this is great information and gives you some insight into the wines but tasting them is the best and only real test!

Heritance Sauvignon Blanc 2017- $17.99

Nose is very impressive with tropical fruits, lemon and a faint, almost sweet floral note enticing you to take a sip. First thing that hits you is a silky-smooth mouthfeel, crisp, refreshing with loads of depth and complexity. Profile is all pear, melon, and citrus with a lingering note of grapefruit and sweet spices. This is what ‘other’ Napa Sauvignon Blancs should aim for!! This is a good one!! 92pt- Wine Enthusiast

Heritance Napa Cabernet 2015 – $37.99

This is a really impressive Cabernet and given that it retails at $37.99 makes it even more impressive. This ‘entry level’ Cabernet has everything you would expect from a totally enjoyable Napa Cabernet- enticing nose of violets and dark fruits with a delightful soft mouthfeel. Loads of blackberries, plum, and chocolate combine to impress and provide a great introduction to Heritance wines without breaking the bank.

This needs a little cellar time to gauge potential and believe me, this has some aging potential of somewhere around 8 – 10 years. As with all of Heritance’s wines, your patience will be rewarded!

Heritance Taub Family Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet 2016 – $56.99

The first thing I noticed about this wine is a ‘rebranding’ of sorts with the Taub Family Vineyards name replacing Heritance on the label. The good news is the wine hasn’t changed and is still impressive Rutherford with excellent depth and complexity. Give this wine a little time and the nose will unfold and reveal violet, cassis, and chocolate. The palate is really where this wine begins to impress in earnest. Almost seamless layers of dark fruits, cherries, chocolate and of course the ‘Rutherford dust’. If this is any indication of their 2016 wines, I can’t wait for the Beckstoffer Georges III offering to be released in the coming weeks.

Heritance Taub Family Vineyards Beckstoffer Georges III – 2015- $139.99

Grapes sourced from Beckstoffer Georges III only partially explains why this is such an impressive Cabernet. Of course, Rutherford appellation adds another layer of insight. All of this is great but the depth and complexity of this wine is very impressive. From the seductive nose, that transports you to some far-off land with a promise of everything good, to the silky-smooth palate this is a wonderful wine. Flavor profile is almost seamless making it a challenge in identifying the blueberries, raspberries and dark cherries that cradles a core of plum and chocolate with a sweet, almost raisin note on the finish. The traditional Rutherford dust didn’t become evident till after the second sip. Difficult not to have a smile on my face and yes, it’s as good as you think it is!

~Peter Ryan – Vine & Table Wine Buyer

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 Vine & Table #301