We are honored to be included in this distinguished group of wines as memorialized by this distinguished writer:
Wed 20 Aug 2014
Fifty Wines That Shaped My Palate, 1984-2014
by Fredric Koeppel
I started this post as a way of commemorating my 30th anniversary in wine-writing, reached, as My Regular Readers know — bless your little pointy heads and may your tribes increase — early in July. Initially, the concept was “Fifty Great Wines,” but I decided that choosing 50 “great” wines from 30 years of tasting would be an impossible and probably just stupid and futile task. In three decades, I tasted thousands and thousands and more thousands of wines — you writers know how it is — so choosing the 50 “greatest” from this immense group would be a Sisyphian exercise.
Then I realized that what would be more significant anyway would be 50 wines that, as the title states, shaped my palate, the wines that shook me to the core, that shifted my perspective about how wine is made and its various effects, that achieved a level of purity and intensity that befit the divine; the wines, in short, that were not only definitive but created me as a writer. Yes, just that. So I spent the past few weeks combing through dozens of old notebooks, through the electronic archives of the newspaper for which I wrote a weekly column for 20 years and of course through the pages of this blog.
42. Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, Napa Valley. Sample for review, tasted at home December 2008.
Stu’s report for the Spring Mountain District this week:
“Spring Mountain District officially started harvest last Friday with Spring Mountain Winery harvesting a small amount of sauvignon blanc. They anticipate continuing with sauvignon blanc this week and starting with pinot noir. Higher up on the mountain not much has been happening. A few wineries are anticipating starting with chardonnay in the week of Aug. 25. Flavors seem to be developing at lower sugars than usual and the crop looks very good and clean. Everyone’s anticipating a wonderful harvest.”
This week’s harvest report for the District from Stu: Looks like Spring Mountain Winery will start harvest with Sauvignon blanc and Pinot noir next week and a few of us may join harvest with Chardonnay during the week of August 25. Most of the Cabernet Sauvignon has completed veraison and the Merlot is finishing up, but the Cab. franc is running half to three quarters of completion. Crop levels are looking very good from average plus to slightly more.
A silver medal winner!
From grapes grown at the top of Spring Mountain (1,000 foot elevation above sea level) in soil containing sedimentary rock and volcanic elements, this blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 6% Cabernet Franc is aged for 21 months in a mix of French and American oak prior to bottling.
Aroma: Grassy, green bell pepper, peppery, jalapeño, fruity, berries, vanilla, mixed flowers, spice, hay, leather, lovely oak.
Palate: Plums, mushroom, leather, tobacco, oak, creamy, lovely wood, opulent.
Finish: Cocoa, light white pepper, leather, tart, medium.
The complete tasting: http://www.thefiftybest.com/wine/best_napa_valley_cabernet_sauvignon/
James Melendez video-reviews the 2011 Chardonnay:
“….beautiful flavor characteristics…9.3 out of 10…outstanding wine” and more:
Stu has reported on harvest in the Spring Mountain District for The St. Helena Star for some years. The season has begun….
Harvest Report: Growers anticipate early harvest
August 05, 2014 by Jesse Duarte
Mumm kicked off the Napa Valley’s 2014 harvest on July 30, and while sparkling varietals are always the first to ripen, growers are also anticipating an early harvest for the valley’s most popular grapes. Ripening seems to be at least two weeks ahead of where it usually is in early August. Here’s the latest installment of the 2014 harvest report, organized by American Viticultural Areas:
Spring Mountain District – Stuart Smith, Smith-Madrone Winery – “It’s pretty quiet on Spring Mountain. The upper elevations are expecting chardonnay to start the last week of August with most of the reds still finishing veraison. The lower elevations have some sauvignon blanc at 21 Brix and some pinot noir at 22.5 Brix. Expectations are high for both a good vintage and a good crop.”
The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is the Wine of the Week in the St. Helena Star:
There is almost a cult-like following for the Smith-Madrone Riesling, and I am one of its fans. But this past week I needed a cab, and opened the 2009 from their Spring Mountain estate. If you have not visited, there are wonderful views of the valley floor, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and their own vineyards, from the property’s 1,300-1,900 foot elevations….
Throw a steak on the grill or braise short ribs, for this cab has plenty of blackberry, sage brush, and spice flavors. But the wine only clocks in at 13.9 percent alcohol; a flavorful option to the higher octane beasts still out there, despite the turning tide.