Wine of the week: Trig Point, 2018 Signpost, Russian River Valley Chardonnay
Vintners are on edge this harvest as they grapple with the pandemic during wildfire season.
“I think it’s all just an unknown, but if it gets combined with a fire/power outage, that could be rather tricky,” said Nick Goldschmidt, vintner of his namesake winery in Healdsburg.
Despite the vexing variables in this year’s harvest, Goldschmidt remains optimistic.
“The towns we have in Sonoma County are really special,” he said. “Look where I live in Healdsburg, four appellations all right here and so much to do and see when we come back. These times will pass.”
The optimist is behind our wine of the week winner — the Trig Point, 2018 Signpost, Russian River Valley Chardonnay at $23. Complex and supple yet balanced, this chardonnay has aromas and flavors of pear, melon and mineral. Its vibrant fruit is coupled with crisp acidity and an unexpected creamy texture that will turn heads. It’s impressive, a steal for the caliber of this chardonnay.
Other tasty chardonnays include: Tongue Dancer, 2018 Pratt Vineyard, Russian River Valley Chardonnay, $42; Williams Selyem, 2018 Olivet Lane Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, $65; Merry Edwards, 2017 Olivet Lane, Russian River Valley, Sonoma County Chardonnay, $68 and Smith-Madrone, 2017 Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District Chardonnay, $40.
As for Trig Point, Goldschmidt said the house style he’s striving for is Chablis-like.
Chablis is a chardonnay-producing wine region in the northwest corner of Burgundy, France. Unlike other chardonnay wines, Chablis rarely uses oak aging and it’s the reason unoaked chardonnay is popular worldwide.
“Chablis, for me, is the king of great chardonnay,” Goldschmidt said. “I have always been very inquisitive about the area and the winemaking. It’s quite different to what we do here. I’m looking for mineral, gunflint and something to make you thirsty. These are all signs of great Chablis.”
Pinpointing the fruit in the vineyard is key in producing this style, the vintner explained.
“I just think making wine from the field selection is very tricky because you have to have the right balance in the vineyard and most of the vineyards are so old now,” Goldschmidt said. “The grower also has to make it sustainable, both from a quality and quantitative standpoint.”
Goldschmidt, 57, earned a a bachelor’s degree from Canterbury, horticulture at Lincoln University and viticulture from Australia’s Charles Sturt University. His post-graduate degree is in enology from Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia. He later worked at Simi until 2003 and then for the global company Allied Domecq/Jim Beam until 2008. That year, the New Zealand native became self-employed, making a range of wines, including some modestly priced.
“Don’t ask me how I do it as far as budget,” the vintner said. “If I was making good decisions, I probably wouldn’t be in the business. But the problem is I love wine and I love the people and the energy around the business. It’s so complicated, it’s fun and it’s always so exhilarating.”
Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 707-521-5310.