`Charles Heintz Vineyard` Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Sonoma County


Husband and wife team Ted and Heidi Lemon are behind this family run...

winery, established in 1993. Ted began his career in Burgundy and has worked for some of the region's top estates including Domaine Guy Roulot in Meursault where he was winemaker and vineyard manager, the first American to ever hold such a position in Burgundy! Heidi has similarly worked for some of California's top producers including Robert Long Vineyards and Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. Ted and Heidi's mission with Littorai was to find the best spot to grow Pinot Noir and Chardonnay along the littoral (coastal) zones of the U.S.A. They searched the west coast before finally finding their top spot in the 'true' north of California - the coastal mountains of Sonoma and Mendocino Counties. All the vineyards have been farmed biodynamically since 2001 and there is minimal intervention in the winemaking.

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The Charles Heintz site lies at around 250 metres above sea level on a gently rolling plateau seven miles west of the Pacific. It was planted in 1983. The Littorai section is farmed using only organic materials but is not certified. Littorai have been sourcing the same seven rows of Charles Heintz Vineyard for eighteen years. The soil type is Gold Ridge loam.

Vintage Information

Despite the multi-year drought, significant rainfall in December and early January filled reservoirs and positioned the north coast well for the season. January saw an extended dry and frosty period, but early bud break came with a very dry, sunny spring. Early July heat was followed by summer fog. Veraison began around 21st July but proceeded slowly due to the persistent cool, foggy weather. In mid-August there was a spell of warm weather with no fog intrusion, relatively high humidity and lots of high clouds. This pushed vineyards to “catch up” in development following the very cool month before, but Veraison was still exceptionally long and slow. Ten days of brilliant sunshine in late August to early September pushed the ripening forward. While botrytis was present due to the cool wet summer, the lack of fog in late summer and long, consistently warm days kept it under control.


The fruit was hand-harvested and whole cluster pressed on arrival at the winery with the heavy press juice separated out. The juice was then 90% barrel fermented in 25% new French oak barrels with the remaining 10% fermented in stainless steel tank. Full malolactic fermentation took place in barrel and the wine spent a number of months on its fine lees in stainless steel tanks before bottling.

Tasting Notes

Meyer Lemon, honey dew melon, pear blossom, with just a hint of grilled almonds and a fresh saline quality. The aromas suggest a rich wine but this is a very elegant bottling with a fine balance of acidity and richness leading to a very long finish.

Vintage Information

Vintage 2014
Grape varieties 100% Chardonnay
Region Sonoma County, California
Winemaker Ted Lemon
Alcohol (ABV) 13.5%