Dutch Bill Creek
2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Chardonnay •Heintz Ranch/Searby/Boriolo Vineyards
California: Sonoma County: Russian River Valley
What we say
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Today’s wine is a truly exceptional value Chardonnay, showing off delicious Heitz Family fruit, the terroir of the Russian River Valley, and the skills of a talented winemaker. If you are a fan of classic Chardonnay, at a fantastic price, then today’s wine must not be missed.
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Mission Codename: Earliest Settler
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Dutch Bill Creek & Heintz Ranch and secure an exlcusive allocation of their delicious Russian Rivery Valley Chardonnay.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Dutch Bill Creek Wines
Wine Subject: 2007 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Winemaker: Kevin Kelley
Backgrounder: Today’s wine hails from Heintz Ranch Vineyards, under their original label, Dutch Bill Creek Wines. This label was created in recognition of one of the early settlers of the town of Occidental, CA, named William “Dutch Bill” Howard and the creek that was later named after him. Heintz continues the tradition of crafting fine wines under this label – crafted from Heitz family estate fruit.
The list of wineries that purchase grapes from Heintz Ranch Vineyards is as long as it is impressive. The list includes a Who’s Who of award-winning, ultra-premium wine producers. Littorai, Oren Swift, Williams-Selyem, Suacci-Carciere and many others prize Heintz grapes for their superior quality.
The Russian River Valley, in Sonoma County, produces Chardonnay (as well as Pinot Noir and Old Vine Zinfandel) of remarkable distinction. The cooler maritime conditions of the region make the RRV ideal for growing Burgundian varietals. This AVA was officially designated in 1983, but many of the wines in the region used the designation as early as the 1970s (early in California’s wine history) with the many of the vines having been first planted in the early 1900s.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep golden yellow with orange hues that glisten through its brilliantly clear core. This wine pales slightly along the edges from yellow to nearly clear. When swirled slow thin legs hang for a moment before randomly descending.
Smell – Bright, fresh and redolent with aromas of stone and orchard fruit along with a touch of dried apricot, apple and tart Clementine orange. The fresh fruit is accompanied by sweet baking spice, orange blossoms, toasted biscuit and honey.
Feel – Smooth and creamy on entry, this full-bodied and dry white shows its minerality and acidity at mid palate with a touch of tanginess that lingers into the finish.
Taste – Ripe and rich fruit, as previewed on the nose leads the way and is followed by tangy and tart versions of the same and a touch of cinnamon apple as well. The fruit blends with a touch of creamy butter and toasted biscuit and oak. The sweet baking spice, stony minerality, honey and floral notes also make their appearance on the palate.
Finish – Medium long and clean with the notes of citrus, stony minerality and tart acidity lingering.
Conclusion – The 2007 Dutch Bill Creek Winery Russian River Valley Chardonnay is delicious and classic California style Chardonnay that keeps the fruit, spice, toast and butter in balance all held together by lively acidity and minerality. This wine is drinking very well right now and pair with grilled whitefish dusted with herbs and dried mustard.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Kevin Kelley
WINE EDUCATION: UC Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Winemaker for Heintz , Dutch Bill Creek, Salinia and The NPA.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Provide a clean safe environment for mother nature to work her magic.
WINEMAKER QUOTE: You can’t improve upon nature so don’t try.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 2003
AGENT RED: Greetings, Kevin. We are thrilled to be showing your 2007 Dutch Bill Creek Chardonnay today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
KEVIN KELLEY: Always a pleasure to spend time with you and your Operatives, Agent Red!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
KEVIN: In High School I read a book called “Like Modern Edens” by Charles Sullivan that was about the beginning of grape growing and winemaking in California. I was so enthralled by it that I read another wine book and then another. I was hooked and the path was laid out in front of me. At the time I didn’t know that Charles Sullivan was the same Mr. Sullivan that was teaching English at my High School.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
KEVIN: I find a huge amount of inspiration from the generational passing down of the winemaking craft. I did not have that because I did not come from a winemaking family and we have very little of here in California. There are a few pockets in the world that have been making wine the same way for generations, parts of Slovenia and Croatia for instance. They have resisted the modern winemaking trends circling the globe and are very unique because of that. Some of these wines are so pure and honest that it is hard not to be inspired by them.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
KEVIN: I most certainly make wine for the consumer with the hope of allowing them to experience a definitive time and place through the wine.
RED: Heintz Ranch grapes find their way into some of the most sought-after California wines. Can you name a few wineries that benefit from Heintz grapes?
KEVIN: True there is great company out there, Littorai, William Selyem, Dumol, Flowers and Salinia just to name a few.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
KEVIN: Today I am thrilled to be talking with you about the 2007 Dutch Bill Creek Chardonnay. I love this bottle of wine for so many reasons but I will just touch on a few key points. For us, wine is about a time and place, being Chardonnay growers in the Russian River Valley, 2007 seemed like everything was coming together in near perfect order. We had a small crop so grapes were packed with concentrated flavors. It was a very cool year, which Chardonnay thrives in, allowing slow maturation of the fruit. This gives time for layers of delicate aromatics to fully develop and ensures that the acidity levels remain high. Finally we are fortunate to be working with three amazing vineyards for this bottling. The Charles Heintz Vineyard is the estate property and home for Dutch Bill Creek, Searby Vineyard is a stones throw away from Heintz, farmed by Charlie Heintz and within 10 miles of the cold Pacific and finally Boriolo is planted in the heart of the Russian River Valley on the sandy soils the valley is so well known for. Each of these vineyards are over 25 years old and bring a complexity and refinement that you can only get from older vines. All of the grapes were hand picked and the wines hand made in our small cellar. They were fermented in both new but mostly neutral french oak barrels so you can taste the time and place not just oak. With a few years in bottle now this wine is exploding with flavors and aromatics that jump out of your glass! It is so approachable on opening that you are tempted to drain your glass. However if you enjoy this wine over and hour or two it will settle into an elegant refinement that will make it difficult to stop smelling your glass. With such a cool vintage, this is also a perfect candidate to lay down for many more years. Patience will be greatly rewarded with this wine for sure.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
KEVIN: Well, we are in Dungeness crab season here on the Sonoma Coast so I can’t resist going straight there. Rubbing an herb blend all over the shell and then a quick roast over a wood fire would be a brilliant pairing. The sweet crab with light touches of herb and smoke would blend beautifully with the chalk, citrus, and jasmine in this wine.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Russian River Valley such a special place for Chardonnay?
KEVIN: It’s the Pacific Ocean that makes the region so special. The soil is mostly ancient seabed lifted out of the pacific by the San Andreas fault. And of course all of our weather systems come off the ocean, including the fog that washes over us daily.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
KEVIN: The vineyards actually as we are just starting to get into flowering which will not only dictate the crop for this year but influence next years as well.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
KEVIN: Approach them with patience, these wines are meant to improve with age. When drinking them young, start the bottle cool, cold even and pour yourself a glass as you cook. Slowly let it warm up in your glass over time. Taking your time to enjoy the evening while watching the wine evolve in glass will reward you on many different levels.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
KEVIN: Take your time, slow down and enjoy the moment. Those evenings spent with family, friends, food and wine are what memories are made of.
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Heintz Ranch vineyard can be seen in this satellite photo
What the winery says
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Wine Spectator – Clean, pure, rich and full-bodied, offering ripe peach, tangerine and nectarine, with hints of wet stone. Intense and concentrated, this keeps its focus on the ripe fruit. Drink now through 2012. 690 cases made.
About This Wine:
Straw yellow with a green tinge. This wine has huge aromatics of wet stones, white peach, apricot preserves and raw honey. The mineral notes continue on the pallet as well as mandarin orange more apricot and hazel nuts. Drink now through 2014. Grapes; 1/3 Heintz Ranch, 1/3 Searby Vineyard and 1/3 Boriolo Vineyard.
About The Winery:
Heintz Ranch has been owned by the Heintz family for nearly 100 years. Charlies’ grandparents purchased the land in 1912. Over the many decades they grew many crops. In the first years it was chickens, berries, cherries apples and other vegetables.
The Heintz family grew to nine children, which became the labor force. In the early 1900’s the Heintz family planted a few acres of vineyard. Zinfandel grew well here. At Prohibition, the grape vines were removed and replaced with apple orchards. Apples stayed in production here until the Chardonnay vineyard was planted in 1982.
Charlie began farming Heintz Ranch in 1984. He continually strives to learn new techniques, keeping up with the latest tools and innovations.
Our first label became known as “Dutch Bill Creek” in recognition of one of the early settlers of the town of Occidental, CA named William “Dutch Bill” Howard and the creek that was later named after him. The train on our label is representative of the train that used to pass through the center of town.
Our ultra-premium label is “Heintz.” These small-production wines are made from 100% Heintz Ranch fruit.
Because our wines are produced in small quantities, they receive the utmost care and attention, which is reflected in the taste, color and aroma of our wines. Charlie painstakingly manages all aspects of farming the 55 acres of vineyard including operations and personally overseeing the winemaking process of our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir and Syrah.
In addition to producing our own wine each year, the remaining Heintz Ranch fruit goes to a few select, high-end wineries in Sonoma and Napa. Charlie prides himself on working closely with each winemaker to deliver quality fruit, consistently, each and every year.
Appellation: Russian River Valley (1/3 each Heintz Ranch/Searby/Boriolo Vineyards)
Bottled: 9/6/08 – 642 cases