The Heintz 2007 Sonoma Coast Syrah $35 ABV 14.2%


This wine is almost everything I love about Sonoma Coast Syrah.  It’s got this wonderful energetic core of fresh fruit and a smooth and rich mid-palate with a nice lift of acid on the finish.  At least, it mostly does after the oak blows off.  On initial opening this wine was too oaky for me. Not sure why, since it only sees 25% new French oak but I was getting a little too much vanilla and baking spice and not enough pure fruit.  The fruit was there but I couldn’t find it for the oak.  As the wine opened, that core of fruit crept back in — ripe blackberry aromas mixed with green cracked pepper and a bit of smoke and also some plum began to come through.

This is more of a brawny style of Syrah, it’s big and bold and it packs a punch. I wouldn’t call it anything close to a Northern Rhone (at least the ones I’ve tried) but it does have some of those same cool-climate characteristics in that there’s a savory element to it.  It’s a well-made wine if perhaps a bit too “large” for my taste.  For those of you that like bigger styles of Syrah though, this would be right up your alley.

Charles Heintz is perhaps most well known for the spectacular Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vineyards of which there are roughly 40 combined acres that he farms and sells to some of the West Coast’s most premium wineries.  But the Heintz family started their own winery back in 2000 and have been making a their own Pinot, Syrah, and Chardonnay from their estate grapes.  There’s only a little bit of the Syrah (about 3 acres).  It’s grown in the lowest part of the Heintz ranch where the fog settles in and keeps temperatures nice and cool.

Over all, I’m sure that there are many who would find this Syrah right up their alley, it’s close for me and I will go back to try other vintages.


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