Charles Heintz Vineyards
2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
Pinot Noir •Heintz Ranch
California: Sonoma County: Sonoma Coast
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
Today’s wine is a truly exceptional Pinot Noir, 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: Anticipations
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Heintz, fabled grower for Williams Selyem, Littorai and many other ultra-premium Pino producers. Secure as many cases as possible of their award-winning and softly elegant Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Heintz Ranch Vineyard & Winery
Wine Subject: 2008 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast
Winemaker: Kevin Kelley
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.
The Sonoma Coast AVA is the 750 square mile area with the Pacific ocean on its western boundary, the San Pablo Bay to the south and Mendocino County to the north, headed inland to the other designated AVAs in Sonoma County. The region is heavily influenced by the cooler ocean climate, increased rainfall and fog that lingers long on the coastal mountains. The specific climate suits the demanding Burgundian varietals of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay very well.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Perfect pink strawberry juice hues, with even color, from core to edge. The wine is very slightly opaque, and it settles quickly when swirled. After settling, skinny legs appear high up on the wall of the glass. They hang for a few moments and then begin to move slowly down the glass.
Smell – Lush and full on the nose, the wine leads with sweet cherry, young strawberry and cranberry. These are followed up by soft earthen spice, subtle cedar, fresh mulch and a hint of flinty gunpowder.
Feel – Ultra-soft on the tip of the tongue and then round and elegant at the mid-palate. After a moment, the wine gains some weight, settling on the mid and back palate, where it coats the mouth with flavor and spice. Soft tannins add a gentle dryness.
Taste – Delicious and very flavorful, with tart cherry, young strawberry, tart dried cranberry and black tea leaf. These are balanced against earthen black cherry, dried dark leaves, soft spice and a hint of sweetwood.
Finish – Long and flavors, going from bright and fruit-driven, to more earthen and mineral. As fruit tails off, spice makes a soft appearance.
Conclusion – What a delicious 2008! Where many of the ‘08s we have been sampling have tasted somewhat young, this wine is ready to go, now. We are curious to see how it will progress, but we love how the wine is drinking right now. Soft and elegant, the wine gains complexity as you sip, making it an interesting wine as well as a delicious one. We have really come to love wines from Heintz and today’s Pinot Noir only reinforces our feelings. With a bright acidity, this Pinot makes for a great companion to most foods. We enjoyed our review bottles with a fresh-from-the-over flatbread with caramelized onions, Gruyere and Serrano ham. Delicious! Drinking beautifully right now, we recommend that you buy enough bottles to last you through the next couple of years.
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 2008 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
KEVIN KELLEY: It is always a pleasure to share our wines with your Operatives, Agent Red.
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: 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: Getting ready for harvest! Gotta run, soon!!
RED: Yikes. I’ll let you go. 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:
92 Points – Wine Enthusiast – A lovely Pinot marked by crispness, complexity of fruit, and the hard-to-describe wild, feral attractions of the Sonoma Coast. With brisk tannins, the wine shows cherry, cola, pomegranate and cedar flavors, with an ineffable expression of wild thyme, sage and lavender. Drink this beautiful wine now and through 2014. S.H. (7/1/2010)
About This Wine:
This wine clearly shows the unique ability of Pinot Noir to pack both concentration and complexity into a lightly color elegant frame. The aromatics are expansive and ever changing going through realms of fresh red fruit, dried cranberries, baking spices, vanilla and a background of earthiness. In the mouth you will find an impeccable balance between the fruit, acid and tannins, with the acid taking a slight lead. This is a dinner wine that is begging for a long meal that will give it time to open up and really reveal itself.
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: 8/7/07 – 225 cases