Met Katy Wilson in the midst of California’s annual fire season a few years ago. While we walked the vineyards and sampled some of her wines in the smoke, it wasn’t until this week I opened her 2016 La Rue Charles Heintz Vineyards Chardonnay. The Heintz Vineyards are well known for their Chardonnay grapes. The Heintz family has operated the vineyards since 1912, located just east of Occidental. It is about 800 feet elevation on Goldridge sandy loam soils. Key to the vineyard is the cool ocean influence that makes Sonoma coast wines intriguing and spell binding.
Here is a picture from two years ago of Katy. It is still one of my favorite as Katy was so serious talking about her wines. I finally got her to laugh and caught this picture. For me this captures what Katy feels about her wines.
For the previous story on La Rue Wines (Pinot Noir’s and Chardonnay’s) see:
The 2016 La Rue Charles Heintz Vineyard Chardonnay possesses an embracing golden coloration that is beautiful on the eyes with medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, aromas of pear, golden apples and aromas of spring flowers. On the palate, leaving the wine on the lees with minimal stirring allows as Katy stated “to develop complexity and structure”. She also leaves the wine, in the once used French barrels for between 16-18 months! The rich mouthful feeling of this wine is spectacular! The finish is as on-going as Katy’s smile is wide! She does take the Chardonnay almost completely through a secondary malolactic fermentation but with the high acidity from this coastal Chardonnay, it does not have your typical over the top buttery finish. The wine is a great mixture of aroma, acid, texture and oak influence which provide a clean crispness with a slight minerality for the finish.
The wine was paired with a Lemon Chicken Piccata dish coupled with baby asparagus and a fresh garden salad. The fresh lemon in the sauce played perfectly with the wine.
Besides, being the winemaker and owner of La Rue Wines, Katy today is consulting winemaker for Anaba Wines, Claypool Cellars, Reeve Wines and Smith Story Wine Cellars.