Tasting with a Winemaker: Nick Goldschmidt


goldschmidt pic
“I don’t think you fully understand the business until you do it yourself.”– Nick Goldschmidt

And weeks later, I still can’t fathom getting rid of the empty bottles!  Yes, this describes my experience with Goldschmidt wines.  I had to go to Pinterest to search for something creative to do with my prized treasures.

Long before my interview with winemaker, Nick Goldschmidt began, I journeyed from Sacramento to Healdsburg in search of a new and exciting adventure.  Truthfully speaking, I spend much of my time in the Napa Valley, visiting tasting rooms, attending events and meeting lots of new people.  I am inexperienced in the Sonoma Valley, although, when shopping, I am prone to seek out Sonoma Valley wines when stocking my shelves.  I first fell in love with Sonoma Valley wines about six or seven years ago, while traveling for work in Santa Rosa.  I checked into the hotel across the street from where I was working, and was greeted by a bottle of Gallo Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  It was amazingly rich with dark fruit, and subtle hints of chocolate.  That was it.  I was hooked.

The journey took me through plenty of rural areas and long roads, but it was worth the serene views.  It also served as a reminder of how little time I’ve spent traveling to the Sonoma Valley.  Only there on a couple of occasions,  I have visited a couple wineries and attended an event or two.  Every year, I make a promise to myself to visit there more, however, I usually find that the year has passed me by without a single visit to the valley.

This, among other things, is why my visit with Mr. Goldschmidt marks an important occasion.  Pulling into the parking lot of the quaint establishment, I arrived shortly after Nick.  Although not open to the public for tasting, the structure is warm and welcoming.

I always chuckle a little on the inside when having conversations with winemakers.  They are farmers at heart and true lovers of the earth and vine.  It reminds me so much of my grandfather.  He was so passionate about agriculture and always encouraged his children and grandchildren to appreciate the amazing works of the earth.

My conversation with Nick was no different.  He speaks so passionately about his work.  I admire that in anyone.

Nick Goldschmidt, a new Zealand native, began his career in the early 1980’s.  With extensive education and experience, he has dedicated much of his life to crafting some of the most stellar wines.  Serving as a consultant for over 25 wineries across 6 countries, you are sure to have come across some of Mr. Goldschmidt’s amazing contributions.  Just this year, one of Nick’s works, Viñedo Chadwick 2014, received 100 points from wine critic James Suckling.  Although a perfect score is an amazing accomplishment on its own, Viñedo Chadwick is an ultra-premium wine from the Chadwick-Errázuriz family, and is the first Chilean wine to receive such a high recognition.

After spending many years working in the industry and crafting wines for so many brands in California and internationally, in 1998 Nick and his wife, Yolyn, developed their own line of wines under the Goldschmidt brand.  Two distinct labels, Forefathers and Goldschmidt Vineyards, focus on wines from areas known for yielding amazing wines.  As stated from the Forefathers website, “Our pursuit is simple: find the the best appellation, or the “forefather appellation,” for New World wine-grape varieties and then source from vineyards which will provide wines true to their varietal character.”  This speaks so truly of the wine itself, as the Forefathers Alexander Valley Cabernet was my favorite from the tasting.

Goldschmidt Vineyards wines focus on Cabernet Sauvignon from two Northern California vineyards, Yoeman Vineyard and Game Ranch Vineyard.  Both producing excellent representations of the Napa and Alexander Valleys.  The Goldschmidt brand is also highly regarded for other fascinating wines in their portfolio; to include, 3 Daughters (named for Nick and Yolyn’s three daughters), Boulder Bank and Pampano.

Although a winemaker and consultant in both the Napa and Sonoma Valleys, Nick admits to having a particular liking to producing wines in the Sonoma Valley.  “Heat summation…The Napa Valley gets hotter than Sonoma (Alexander Valley).”  Nick also stated, “When we pick Cabernet in Napa…it is normally two weeks ahead of what you get in the Alexander Valley.  Napa brings big, black, dark, powerful, rich and high alcohol.”  Of the Sonoma Valley, Nick says, “…it’s a little cooler.  We get more red fruit, lower alcohol, more acidity, brighter flavors.”

When Nick is not busy consulting in the wine industry and crafting his own impressive portfolio, guess what you can find him doing?  If you guessed right, then surely you said gardening!

Name: Goldschmidt Singing Tree 
Varietal: Chardonnay
Vintage:  2014
Alcohol: 14.1%
Appellation: Russian River Valley (Sonoma)
Nose and Palate:  Tropical fruit, melon, lime, butterscotch

Classic, refreshingly fruit-forward and delicious.

Retail: $16-$17

Name: Katherine Goldschmidt 
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  2014
Alcohol: 14.5%
Appellation: Alexander Valley (Sonoma)
Nose and Palate:  Young black fruit, smoky, ripe cherry, balanced tannins

Retail: $18-$22

Name: Forefathers 
Varietal: Cabernet Saugvignon
Vintage:  2013
Alcohol: 14.3%
Appellation: Alexander Valley (Sonoma; Lone Tree Vineyard)
Nose and Palate:  Full-bodied, supple tannins, sweet red berry, cool (almost minty undertone)

My favorite!

Retail: $55

Name: Goldschmidt Vineyard (Yoeman Vineyard)
Varietal: Cabernet Sauvignon
Vintage:  2012
Alcohol: 14.3%
Appellation: Alexander Valley (Sonoma)
Nose and Palate:  Full-bodied, balanced tannin, fruit-forward, hints of strawberry, ripe cherry and spice

A beautiful wine!  Another one I can’t wait to have again!

Retail: $75

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