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2008 Suacci Carciere Chardonnay Heintz Vineyard

Suacci Carciere is low-production wine label owned by John Suacci and Andy Carciere. It presently offers three wines: an estate Pinot Noir, a rosé of Syrah and estate Pinot Noir, and the Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay. Suacci Carciere doesn’t have a tasting room with regular open hours. However, they are open for tasting at the Suacci vineyard by appointment. The vineyard, planted only to Pinot Noir, is located in the southernmost tip of the Russian River Valley AVA, not far from Sebastopol.

The head winemaker for Suacci Carciere is Ryan Zepaltas. He has his own eponymous wine label too, but is probably best known as the assistant winemaker for Siduri. In the past, he made the wines for Suacci Carciere at Vinify, a Santa Rosa custom crush. However, now that the Siduri winery has moved into a new, larger facility, the Suacci Carciere wines are made there.

For this review, I tasted the 2008 Suacci Carciere Chardonnay Heintz Vineyard blind with two other Chardonnay from the general vicinity. One, in fact, was the 2008 Littorai Charles Heintz Vineyard wine reviewed here yesterday. The other was a $30 Sonoma Coast blend from another winery. That narrow of a blind tasting doesn’t guarantee complete objectivity by any means, but it’s an interesting exercise nonetheless.

I was able to immediately single out the blend as being an outlier in the group. So were those tasting the wines with me, who knew only that the three wines were each California Chardonnay. The fruit in the blend was riper, more oak was used and the wine had been blended to be a yummy by-the-glass offering rather than a complex and age-worthy wine. Being in the company of the Suacci Carciere and Littorai wines made the oak and butter in the blend stand out all the more.

The two 2008 Chardonnay from the Heintz Vineyard were birds of a feather in many respects, but there were also very clear differences. The Suacci Carciere Chardonnay had more acidity, but also fuller body. It’s texture was a measure creamier than the Littorai, and it’s sur lie- aging flavors stronger. Both are very good wines.

The 2008 Suacci Carciere Chardonnay is pale lemon-gold in the glass with aromas of aged Brie cheese, dried apple, mild baking spice, fresh yeast, and dried oak. It is creamy and full-bodied on the palate with winning flavors of apple, lemon pith, Brie and oak. Leesy minerality develops for the long finish. The wine’s acidity stands out just a bit now, suggesting that it will be even better with another year or so in bottle. Drink now through 2017. Highly Recommended.


2008 Suacci Carciere Chardonnay Heintz Vineyard
Rating: Highly Recommended

Drink: Now through 2017
Production: 200 cases
Release Date: late 2010
Closure: Cork
Retail Price: 48.00

Winemaker: Ryan Zepaltas

Blend: 100% Chardonnay
Origin: Charles Heintz Vineyards, Sonoma Coast/Russian River Valley

Aging: 11 months in French oak, 33% new

Alcohol: 13.8%

The wine above was purchased for review at the winery.

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This article is original to Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.