Simi Reserve Chardonnay 1998
The many different rootstock materials, clones and mass selections create a range of diversity uncommon in California Chardonnay vineyards today. Blocks are vinified separately and the final blend combines the best of warm and cool fruit flavors with a distinct mineral undertone and fruit intensity. The Russian River Valley climate, cooled by coastal influences, helps develop bright forward fruit that stands up to aging in new oak and malolactic fermentation.
Since 1904, SIMI Winery has never been without a female winemaker on its staff. It began with Isabelle Simi who ran the winery for sixty-six years (1904-1970), to the first and second female graduates of the esteemed Viticulture and Enology program at UC Davis (MaryAnn Graf and Zelma Long) and continues to this day with Director of Winemaking Susan Lueker. A scientist at heart, Susan fell in love with winemaking from her first enology class. In her words: “I loved the vineyard, the interaction with the people, nature and science”. Susan joined SIMI in 2000, and today she carries on Isabelle’s legacy while creating wines with harmony and a true sense of place that promote the unique beauty and diversity of Sonoma County.
California’s most praised white wine, Chardonnay is also the state’s most planted white grape variety. Diverse terrain and microclimates allow for an incredible range of wine styles.
Chardonnay planted in the cooler, coastal zones takes on bright characteristics like lemon zest, key lime, green apple and wet flint. For this style, look to the chilly Sonoma Coast, Carneros, Santa Cruz Mountains, Santa Lucia Highlands and Edna Valley.
The inland zones of California’s coast, such as the Russian River, Sonoma, Napa and Livermore Valleys maintain a more Goldilocks-esque climate where both styles go. Early picking retains acidity and creates a leaner style but leaving the grapes to hang creates an approachable Chardonnay, balancing richness and finesse.