Rich yellow apple and ripe peach jump out of the glass along with the expected honeysuckle notes indicative of the site. Candied lemon, pineapple and hints of pear bring together this wonderfully balanced and delicious wine.
Chardonnay is the world’s most famous white-wine grape and also one of the most widely planted, with the most highly-regarded expressions of the variety coming from Burgundy and California. Climate plays a major role in dictating which fruit flavours a Chardonnay will have. Broadly speaking, warm regions such as California tend to give more tropical styles. While many Chardonnays have high aromatic complexity, this is usually due to winemaking techniques (particularly the use of oak) rather than the variety’s intrinsic qualities. Malolactic fermentation gives distinctive buttery aromas. Fermentation and/or maturation in oak barrels contributes notes of vanilla, smoke and hints of sweet spices such as clove and cinnamon. Extended lees contact while in barrel imparts biscuity, doughy flavours.
Sonoma Valley is one of California’s most notable wine regions, located in the southern part of Sonoma County. The AVA, which was recognized in 1982, has a varied terroir that is less influenced by the cooling fog that rolls in through the Petaluma Gap than its northern counterpart, the Russian River Valley. The area’s climate is influenced by its sheltered position between the hills, but also by its close proximity to San Pablo Bay to the south, which provides temperature moderation in the vineyard. This AVA is divided roughly in half between Sonoma and Napa and represents the meeting point between the two valleys.
Ideal Goldridge soil, healthy, mature vines, warm days balanced with cool nights and a grower who has been working the land since 1982 all contribute to Robert Parker’s assessment of the vineyard as “… one of the great grand cru Chardonnay sites in California.” The Charles Heintz vineyard, planted in 1982, has 25 acres of clone 4 Chardonnay. In 2017, vines leapt into action with replenished water tables after years of drought. Early vegetative growth was strong, but not excessive, and crop yields were moderate. Warmer summer temperatures ended up compressing harvest for most producers. The coast was relatively protected from strong heat waves and delivered typical acid-driven fruit with great phenolic ripeness.
Grapes are hand-sampled and harvested at ideal ripeness, cold-soaked for a few days, fermented with yeasts indigenous to the vineyard, and ultimately pressed and barrelled into a selection of the winery’s favourite French cooperages. Fermented in used French oak. Aged 12 month in French oak, 30% new