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by Fred McMillin
for November 25, 1997

Simi Goes for the Gold

Simi has released its first Sonoma County Chardonnay. It must be destined to win the gold. The winemaker's name is Nick GOLDSCHMIDT. The vineyard that made it possible is named GOLDFIELDS...and, the winery leader, Zelma Long, started winning GOLD medals with Simi Chardonnays routinely since the 1980 vintage.

The Goldfields Story

Fifteen years ago Zelma was conducting experimental plantings in Simi's Alexander Valley Chardonnay vineyard. Conclusion: Complement their warm-region Alexander Chardonnay with grapes from a cooler district. So, in 1989 they purchased 120 acres in the Russian River Valley and named the new vineyard after a wild flower found in the area, "Goldfields."

The typical morning is cool and foggy, the sun burns through by noon, and the moderating ocean breezes spring up in the late afternoon. To provide even greater contrasts with the Alexander fruit, Goldfields was planted with eight different Chardonnay clones. Nick is very happy with the diversity of flavors and textures they provide. So, with Goldfields backing out grapes brought in from other counties, the winery has now produced its first Sonoma County Chardonnay. Noted critic James Laube pointed out how Zelma Long's arrival at Simi over 20 years ago has led to continuing "refinements and improvements." Goldfields is another one!

The Wine:
1995 Chardonnay, Sonoma County
Simi Winery
Principal Grape Sources—Alexander Valley and Russian River Valley (Goldfields Vineyard)
Winemaker—Nick Goldschmidt, a New Zealander
Tasting Notes—Balance, balance and balance (nothing dominates...rich...nutty...touch of vanilla). Ideal to complement, not dominate, fish and fowl dishes.
Contact—Nancy Gilbert, (707) 433-6981
Price—$18

Postscript: For more about Simi see the Feb. 12, 1997 WineDay titled "The Queen of Chardonnay," and the June 27, 1997 piece titled "Come Up and Simi Sometime."


About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


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