- The Washington Times - Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Simi, Chardonnay, Sonoma County, 2002, $17

A textbook Northern California chardonnay,

this wine is marked by lush, tropical-scented fruit and has just enough crisp, acidic verve for structure and definition. From a particularly strong vintage, it’s a great summer white.

Chardonnays made in this sort of rich, fleshy style taste opulent but sometimes lack clarity. Because the 2002 growing season in Sonoma County was long and even, with a relatively cool autumn and few heat spikes to ratchet up sugar levels, this wine augments its bright, ripe flavors with a firm structure, resulting in excellent balance and a long, satisfying finish. It manages to taste simultaneously sleek and sumptuous — a beguiling combination.

Ripe chardonnays pair better with food than people sometimes think. Just be sure to match them with comparably full-flavored dishes. They’re great with lobster or crab, and this time of year, they go wonderfully with fresh sweet corn.

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