The first impression of the aromas is one of exotic complexity, with classic citrus layers and tropical notes of star fruit, mango and lychee. On the palate, the complex aromas give way to crisp and bright Meyer lemon flavors that glide to a long, giving finish. Oak shadings are just enough to add subtle nuances to this vibrant and beautifully balanced Chardonnay.
In order to maximize quality, all grapes went direct to press as whole clusters. After pressing and settling, the juice was racked into French oak barrels for fermentation. Once dry and finished with malolactic fermentation, the lots were aged in barrel for 10 months on the lees, with occasional stirring to increase richness and body. This wine was aged in French oak barrels, 20% of which were new, and 40% one-year-old, to offer some subtle oak influence. The wine was then bottled on August 16th, 2017.
The vineyard’s 40-year-old vines were planted using wide spacing during an era when larger tractors dictated that plenty of room be provided to perform the farming work. The large, sprawling Clone 4 Chardonnay vines are trained using quadrilateral trellising on AXR rootstock. Sandy Goldridge soils provide the vines fertile ground for strong growth. 2016 had early an bud break, but cool temperatures in August slowed down the harvest leading to beautifully developed flavors and long hangtime. Harvested by hand, this fruit arrived at the winery healthy and ripe on September 30th, 2016.
Charles Heintz has been growing premium Chardonnay grapes for decades. His namesake vineyard is located in the westernmost part of the Russian River Valley and is therefore our coolest climate site. Charlie himself has said, “It’s like growing Chardonnay in a rain cloud out here.”