Wine of the week: Chelsea, 2021 Guidestone Rise, Alexander Valley Merlot

This week’s pick is a well-crafted, elegant bottling with layered aromas and flavors of black cherry, plum and a kiss of vanilla.|

Tasting Room: Merlot

Chelsea Goldschmidt, 2021 Guidestone Rise, Alexander Valley Merlot, 14.5%, $22, 4.5 stars. An elegant merlot with layered aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry and a kiss of vanilla. Well crafted.

Tom Mackey Cellars, 2021 Wollard Family Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, 14.3%, $40, 4.5 stars. (intense) A lovely merlot with intensity and generous fruit. Notes of blackberry, black plum and a hint of caramel on the finish. Impressive.

Decoy, 2021 Alexander Valley Merlot, 13.9%, $30, 4 stars. An earthy merlot with aromas and flavors of black cherry, raspberry and savory herbs. Pretty.

Pedroncelli, 2020 Bench Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Merlot, 13.7%, $24, 4 stars. A merlot that over-delivers with rich notes of black cherry and red plum. riding on crisp acid. Lovely.

Nick Goldschmidt is a flying winemaker, one who crafts wine in six countries on three continents.

That’s why this well-traveled winemaker has great credibility when he says merlot is the ideal wine for the American palate — supple and round.

Goldschmidt and daughter Chelsea Goldschmidt are behind our wine of the week winner — the Chelsea Goldschmidt, 2021 Guidestone Rise, Alexander Valley Merlot at $22.

This winning merlot is a well-crafted, elegant bottling with layered aromas and flavors of black cherry, plum and a kiss of vanilla.

The Chelsea Goldschmidt wine is named after his eldest daughter. The 31-year-old earned a master’s degree from California State University in the East Bay in biology in 2022. Though she lives in Campbell, she travels back to the North Bay to work on the brand for the harvest, winemaking and blending.

A valuable mentor to his daughter, Goldschmidt said making wine on the northern and southern hemispheres gives him a great advantage. In addition to the United States, he also makes wine in Canada, Chile, Argentina, New Zealand and Australia.

“With my international travel, I have exposure to so many winemakers all around the world every year,” he said. “And I consume as many different wines as I can.”

A fan of the Bordeaux wine regions — Pomerol and Saint Emillion — Goldschmidt said the cool sites and clay soils of Alexander Valley offer budget-savvy alternatives to the prestigious wines crafted in France.

“Typically, Alexander Valley is more red fruit but due to the site and the clay this wine has a little black fruit, as well,” he said. “Plum, as they say, but also black cherry.”

While Goldschmidt found his calling as a globetrotting winemaker, back in 1982 he wasn’t certain of his path.

“Heading down the scientific route, I wasn’t interested in becoming an engineer,” he said.

Goldschmidt was happy to be placed in a research program at Lincoln University in New Zealand. There was no wine school there at the time, but there were two men who were pivotal in guiding Goldschmidt on his path.

Dr. David Jackson wrote many books and discovered bunch stem necrosis and Danny Schuster is a well known consultant.

“They gave me the inspiration to pursue horticulture, eventually viticulture and then complete my postgraduate in enology,” Goldschmidt said. “Of course, my biggest mentor became Zelma Long (an American winemaker).

Goldschmidt was the winemaker at Healdsburg’s Simi Winery from 1990 to 2003 and the head winemaker for Allied Domecq and Jim Beam from 2002 to 2008. The vintner became a consulting winemaker in 2008, carving out time to make Goldschmidt Vineyards a priority.

With the brands under the Goldschmidt Vineyards label, the focus is to continue to improve cabernet and merlot at lower alcohol levels, the vintner said.

“My life revolves around my (five) children, wine and running even when I travel,” he said. “And, of course, watching the #1 sport in the world called Cricket.”

You can reach Wine Writer Peg Melnik at 707-521-5310 or peg.melnik@pressdemocrat.com. On X (Twitter) @pegmelnik.

Tasting Room: Merlot

Chelsea Goldschmidt, 2021 Guidestone Rise, Alexander Valley Merlot, 14.5%, $22, 4.5 stars. An elegant merlot with layered aromas and flavors of blackberry, blueberry and a kiss of vanilla. Well crafted.

Tom Mackey Cellars, 2021 Wollard Family Vineyard, Sonoma Valley, 14.3%, $40, 4.5 stars. (intense) A lovely merlot with intensity and generous fruit. Notes of blackberry, black plum and a hint of caramel on the finish. Impressive.

Decoy, 2021 Alexander Valley Merlot, 13.9%, $30, 4 stars. An earthy merlot with aromas and flavors of black cherry, raspberry and savory herbs. Pretty.

Pedroncelli, 2020 Bench Vineyards, Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County Merlot, 13.7%, $24, 4 stars. A merlot that over-delivers with rich notes of black cherry and red plum. riding on crisp acid. Lovely.

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