It's a truism in the wine industry that great wines are made in the vineyard, not in the winery, and while this is probably true for every grape variety to an extent, it seems to be especially true of Pinot Noir. The fickle nature of this grape was immortalized in the movie Sideways, but the fact that Pinot is extremely sensitive to vineyard site has been known for hundreds of years, dating back to the monks in Burgundy that developed a hierarchy of vineyards. In California we are still learning about our great sites, but there is no doubt that there is something special about the Heintz Ranch in the western reach of the Russian River Valley appellation, where the climate is really more similar to the far Sonoma Coast. Charlie Heintz provides grapes to some the greatest names in California Pinot, including Littorai, Willias Selyem, Kosta Browne, Peay, and DuMol, but reserves some of his finest fruit for his own Heintz label.
The 2006 Heintz Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir is light garnet in color, showing just a hint of brown, which seems to be typical for the 2006 vintage in California. The nose is loaded with black cherry, clove, plum, and cinnamon. The palate is medium in weight, with cherry and strawberry joined by an earthy, almost espresso-like note. Good acidity carries through on the spicy finish, leaving a lingering impression of fresh plum. This is in its ideal drinking window right now, and should stay at this level for another few years. A ridiculous bargain at under $30, in an area (Sonoma Coast) that has seen prices jump drastically over the last few years.
This wine is hard to find and normally allocated, let alone at any discount.
So don’t miss your chance on this one!
Appellation: Sonoma Coast (100% Heintz Ranch Estate Swan Clone)
Production: Bottled 8/7/2007 - 225 cases
Heintz Ranch has been owned by the Heintz family for nearly 100 years. Charlies’ grandparents purchased the land in 1912. Over the many decades they grew many crops. In the first years it was chickens, berries, cherries apples and other vegetables.
The Heintz family grew to nine children, which became the labor force. In the early 1900’s the Heintz family planted a few acres of vineyard. Zinfandel grew well here. At Prohibition, the grape vines were removed and replaced with apple orchards. Apples stayed in production here until the Chardonnay vineyard was planted in 1982.
Charlie began farming Heintz Ranch in 1984. He continually strives to learn new techniques, keeping up with the latest tools and innovations.
Their first label became known as “Dutch Bill Creek” in recognition of one of the early settlers of the town of Occidental, CA named William “Dutch Bill” Howard and the creek that was later named after him. The train on our label is representative of the train that used to pass through the center of town.
The ultra-premium label is “Heintz.” These small-production wines are made from 100% Heintz Ranch fruit.
Because the wines are produced in small quantities, they receive the utmost care and attention, which is reflected in the taste, color and aroma of our wines. Charlie painstakingly manages all aspects of farming the 55 acres of vineyard including operations and personally overseeing the winemaking process of our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and Syrah.
In addition to producing their own wine each year, the remaining Heintz Ranch fruit goes to a few select, high-end wineries in Sonoma and Napa tha include: Littorai, Freeman, and Williams-Selyem. Charlie prides himself on working closely with each winemaker to deliver quality fruit, consistently, each and every year.
More at www.heintzvineyards.com.