Simi Winery Alexander Valley
This winery was originally established in 1876 by the immigrant Italian Simi family and is now a part of the Constellation Brands Icon Estate range. The wines here have been improving across recent vintages, they are altogether more accessible than previously, particularly in the case of the lower priced Sonoma County wines. Sauvignon Blanc is cool-fermented and gains additional depth from a small addition of Sémillon.
The wineries big volume brand is Chardonnay with an output of well over 100,000 cases a year and it shows; the wine has straightforward melon scented fruit and gets a touch of new French oak but lacks the vibrancy of the Sauvignon. Bigger, fuller and richer is the Reserve Chardonnay from Russian River vineyards. The wine was originally based on the Goldfields Vineyard but a number of other sites are now included. Around two-thirds is aged in new oak and this a typically full, rich style and moderately priced. A marginally pricier Alexander Valley (£E) example is also made. However it is the reds which are more impressive. Merlot comes from a range of sites. Cabernet Sauvignon by contrast is from solely Alexander Valley fruit and includes unusually a little Syrah and Petite Sirah as well as Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
This is the winery’s other big volume brand and it is intense and structured with vibrant blackberry fruit. It is the top two Cabernets though that are the stand out wines. The Landslide Vineyard bottling has only been released since the 1999 vintage but has emerged as a well priced premium quality example of the variety. The vineyard is planted to a range of clones and the wine offers rich blackberry and plum fruit as well as a lush texture and will drink well young. The Reserve Alexander Valley example, sourced from a range of Alexander Valley sites, is denser and fuller. It is given 24 months in 100% new oak, then aged for a further year before release. Pinot Noir, including a Russian River Reserve and Pinot Gris are also made. (DM)
To find out more about Simi and their wines, and to see how we reviewed and rated their wines you can check out the Regional Guide to California North Coast..
Or indeed you can check out the new extensively updated 9th edition Wine Behind the Label Wine Guide that is 2250 pages, it reviews around 4000 vineyards and over 30,000 wines. (DM)