94 Points - Wine Enthusiast
Wine industry folks often speculate about why Syrah hasn’t caught on as the next big grape the way it was expected. Some believe that its image was tarnished by too many inexpensive, insipid wines coming from overseas, or that it is confusing to consumers because it can be made in a range of styles from light and elegant to big and rich (but doesn’t that describe Pinot Noir as well?). Whatever the reason, the upshot is that there are some fantastic Syrah based wines being made in Northern California and the Central Coast that are also great bargains. We have talked before about Heintz Vineyards, which supplies grapes to some of Sonoma’s finest producers, while reserving their very best block for their own Heintz Vineyards estate wines, but this is the first time we have offered their Syrah. Thanks to the cooler temperatures in the “true” coastal area in which Heintz is located, this is definitely a lighter style Syrah, with plenty of elegance; in fact the Heintz wines are made by Kevin Kelley, one of the winemakers leading the trend of producing lighter, more elegant wines in California. This is a lovely wine, and is sure to delight fans of Northern Rhone Syrah.
The 2007 Heintz Vineyards Syrah is deep ruby in color, with a hint of purple. The nose shows typical Syrah aromas of blueberry and blackberry, but thanks to being picked a little earlier these are accompanied by red berry notes and striking minerality. The palate is spicy, with notes of black pepper and sous bois, along with berry and a hint of fresh plum. Medium bodied with fresh acidity and a long, smooth finish, this wine is perfect for those who prefer Syrah made with a bit of restraint over the high-alcohol, fruit-bomb style of Syrah made in hotter climates. With winter settling in, this is a perfect wine for hearty stew or just for sipping by the fire.
This wine is hard to find normally, let alone at a discount, so don’t miss your chance on this one!
Appellation: Sonoma Coast (100% Heintz Ranch)
Production: 9/6/08 - 178 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 that 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.