Charles Heintz Vineyards
2007 Sonoma Coast Syrah
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is a truly exemplary Syrah, earning it this special award. We always bring you wines of the highest quality, but when one really shies, we issue a special alert.
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Mission Codename: Anticipation
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Locate a high-scoring Syrah for our Syrah-deprived Operatives. Only procure the wine if it exceeds our highest standards for the Syrah that we select.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Heintz Ranch Vineyard & Winery
Wine Subject: 2007 Syrah – Sonoma Coast
Winemaker: Kevin Kelley
Backgrounder: The list of wineries that purchase Heintz Ranch Vineyards grapes is as long as it is impressive. The list includes a Who’s Who of award-winning, ultra-premium wine producers. Littorai, Oren Swift, Williams-Selyem, Suacci-Carciere and many others prize Heintz grapes for their superior quality. Today’s wine is made by Heintz from select Heintz grapes. The result is a Syrah for the ages. It is no wonder that this wine – and others from this fabled vineyard – continue to garner 90+ point scores from the wine press. We invite you to sample this superb wine for yourself.
_Varietal Backgrounder_: The popularity of Syrah is undeniable. Big and bold in flavor and texture, it packs a concentrated punch of flavor that many people love. This Rhone varietal, although many believe that the grape originated in the Persia region, is 100% French in lineage. The Syrah grape is directly descendant from the Monduese Blanche and Dureza varietals and is grown worldwide with great success. Today’s delightful Syrah is a big and bold delight with richly dark flavors, deep aromatics and a plush mouth feel. Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Intensely dark purple, this wine maintains perfect color concentration, from darker core to just slightly lighter crimson edges. The wine appears heavy and viscous when swirled. As it settles, tall columns of wine-stained tears move steadily down the glass.
Smell – Pronounced ripe jammy blackberry and sweet red cherry are out in front. As you swirl the wine and inhale more deeply, dark dried meats, nutty mocha, leather and dried dark herbs compliment the fruit.
Feel – Lush and round on the entry, then soft and slightly lean across the mid-palate. This leanness is not to be mistaken for a flaw. Rather, it provides a transport for the fruit flavors, driving them more deeply onto the palate. Just after this increase of flavor, medium tannins support an easy dryness that spreads around the mouth, giving the wine a crushed velvet feel.
Taste – Concentrated and bold with big fruit flavors of dark mixed berries, dark cherry, plum and boysenberry. Soft oak is present, adding a soft toasty vanilla and mocha flavor. These lush flavors are followed by hints of leather, bramble, black pepper, mild brown tobacco and dried meat.
Finish – A very solid and very long finish that begins with dark mixed fruit. After a moment, flavors increase, delivering brighter, more authentic fruit. Then, as the palate dries, slightly, earthen flavors emerge – and then slowly dwindle.
Conclusion – This very impressive wine is a true California Syrah-lover’s Syrah. With bold, mouth-filling fruit that gives way to elegant oak and earthen components, this delicious wine is ultra expressive, without being over the top. The balance that is struck is a real standout feature of this wine, and our entire tasting panel all agreed that this is the finest Syrah that we have shown in some time. You may notice that we do not feature many Syrah. The reason for this is simple: Unless a particular Syrah knocks our socks off, we won’t share it with our Operatives. Sure, we are choosy about any wine that we show, but we take extra care when selecting particular varietals. If you love great Syrah that delivers fantastic fruit, an elegant feel, deep aromatics and amazing flavors, then this wine is for you. With a brightness of flavor and tenderness of feel, you’ll enjoy this wine on its own – or with a fantastic meal.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Kevin Kelley
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker for Heintz , Dutch Bill Creek, Salinia and The NPA.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Provide a clean safe environment for mother nature to work her magic.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: You can’t improve upon nature so don’t try.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2003
AGENT RED: Greetings, Kevin. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Heintz Ranch Syrah today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
KEVIN KELLEY: My Pleasure.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
KEVIN: In High School I read a book called “Like Modern Edens” by Charles Sullivan that was about the beginning of grape growing and winemaking in California. I was so enthralled by it that I read another wine book and then another. I was hooked and the path was laid out in front of me. At the time I didn’t know that Charles Sullivan was the same Mr. Sullivan that was teaching English at my High School.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
KEVIN: I find a huge amount of inspiration from the generational passing down of the winemaking craft. I did not have that because I did not come from a winemaking family and we have very little of here in California. There are a few pockets in the world that have been making wine the same way for generations, parts of Slovenia and Croatia for instance. They have resisted the modern winemaking trends circling the globe and are very unique because of that. Some of these wines are so pure and honest that it is hard not to be inspired by them.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
KEVIN: I most certainly make wine for the consumer with the hope of allowing them to experience a definitive time and place through the wine.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
KEVIN: The 2007 Heintz Syrah is a very special wine that does not get very far because of the minute production. Because it is almost too cold for Syrah at Heintz the vines struggle to ripen a small crop that is intense but at the same time elegant. This is most definitely a floral wine not a jammy one.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KEVIN: This wine goes beautifully with any kind of pork you can think of, from seared pork belly to al pastor. Serve the wine at cellar temperature (55 degrees F) with a dry rubbed pork shoulder off the grill and you will be in summer time heaven.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma Coast AVA so special?
KEVIN:Where to begin! I would have to say the diversity in soil and climate. No wait, I take that back, It is the connection to the Pacific. Take Heintz for instance, that spot is inextricably linked to the ocean. The soil is marine sandstone that was pushed up out of the ocean and the climate is marine to say the least. With an onshore breeze going you can smell the ocean as you walk the property.
RED: Heintz Ranch grapes find their way into some of the most sought-after California wines. Can you name a few wineries that benefit from Heintz grapes?
KEVIN: True there is great company out there, Littorai, William Selyem, Dumol, Flowers and Salinia just to name a few.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KEVIN: The vineyards actually as we are just starting to get into flowering which will not only dictate the crop for this year but influence next years as well.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
KEVIN: Approach them with patience, these wines are meant to improve with age. When drinking them young, start the bottle cool, cold even and pour yourself a glass as you cook. Slowly let it warm up in your glass over time. Taking your time to enjoy the evening while watching the wine evolve in glass will reward you on many different levels.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
KEVIN: Take your time, slow down and enjoy the moment. Those evenings spent with family, friends, food and wine are what memories are made of.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Heintz Ranch vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
94 Points – Wine Enthusiast
About This Wine:
Inky black and purple in color with black berry pie, violets, bacon and green olives. Mouth watering and savory, the aromatics carry through to the taste and also include flavors of smoke, vanilla and baking spice. Great balance with a long finish. Drink now through 2018.
About The Winery:
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.
Our 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.
Our ultra-premium label is “Heintz.” These small-production wines are made from 100% Heintz Ranch fruit.
Because our 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 our own wine each year, the remaining Heintz Ranch fruit goes to a few select, high-end wineries in Sonoma and Napa. Charlie prides himself on working closely with each winemaker to deliver quality fruit, consistently, each and every year.
Appellation: Sonoma Coast (Heintz Ranch)
Bottled: 9/6/08 – 178 cases