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!
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