The beautiful yellow color with a glint of green is immediately alluring. No matter what vintage it is, the Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay has a distinctive profile. The nose always has elements of crushed rocks and mineral with a supporting role of fresh pineapple and tropical fruit aromas. Notes of yellow apple and fresh nutmeg round out the rich aromatic profile. The complexion of the wine is all about minerals and has a saline-like quality that seems to saturate the entire palate. Apple and pear flavors lurk in the background of this highly focused and expressive, terroir-driven wine. This is a perfect match with a lobster roll, or lobster with a chestnut sauce.
This vineyard site has belonged to the Heintz family for over 100 years. In 1980, it was planted with Clone 4 Chardonnay. Located in the Russian River Valley town of Occidental and sitting at an elevation of 1,000 feet, cool foggy evenings and warm sunny days allow the grapes an extended hang time, producing fruit with high acid levels that give great structure and balance to the wine.
The 2015 vintage continues the hit parade of great quality vintages of the last four years. The season started under extreme drought conditions for the 4th consecutive season despite a wet early winter. January was very dry and warm and brought bud break earlier than expected by about 12 days compared to 2014. The rains returned in early February and dramatically slowed down the growth of the plants. May temperatures were some of the coldest on record and negatively impacted flowering and therefore fruit set. It was common for clusters to have millerandage, or a “hens and chicks” (big berry, little berry) phenotype, great for wine quality but severely limited yields. By the end of July the heat returned and, coupled with limited fog intrusion, the ripening process sped along quickly. In fact, harvest started on the last day of July…the earliest on record in the 36 vintages at Williams Selyem! Despite an auspicious start and a dramatic finish to the season, the 2015 wines may surpass some of the great recent vintages as they are bold and yet maintain their trueness to site. With superb color, structure and acidity, the wines have staying power, but with the wonderful texture and richness that are expressed today, who can resist them now?