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April 23, 2014

April 23, 2014
This is from Ms. X in Manhattan:

Hi, I just wanted to tell you guys that I had a glass of your 2009 Cabernet this winter and still think about it almost every night. I actually gave up trying to describe this wine verbally to people (mostly because the words I’d want to use have become so bandied about and lost a lot of their intrinsic value) and ended up borrowing a Rothko, a Braque and a Bonnard painting to do it. I’m admittedly more of an Old World wine drinker, partly because a lot of the prices are better, but that wine single-glassedly converted me to the idea of trying more California cabernet.

I’m a grad student studying yeast genetics and molecular biology but am obsessed with wine and have been reading a lot of books about different facets of the process on the side to try to understand the logic behind certain practices (and get a feel for where the black boxes may lie). But all of that is very different from being out amongst the vines and I would love to actually be able to help with the harvest. I know it’s hard work and you probably have no need for inefficient or inexperienced hands, but please let me know if there’s ever any opportunity to do so. I’m pretty versatile, learn quickly, and am happiest when asked to work hard. Thanks!

We get mail!

April 17, 2014

Roger D. from Boston emailed us this note this week:

So, one of the first cases of wine I purchased was a case of your 2010 Riesling a couple years ago. I received that case in November of 2011 and finished the case by July of 2012. Looking back, I wish I had saved a couple bottles. I then ordered a few cases including the 2010 Chardonnay a little over a year ago. Easily the best chardonnay I’ve ever tasted. Just the perfect balance of everything I like in a chardonnay. Well, this past weekend I opened up a bottle of 2010 Cab which I had ordered with my friend Nick in New Jersey. I am seriously speechless. You guys only make 3 wines, which I admire because I feel some wineries get out of control with the number of varietals they try to sell. But with your 2010 vintage you have made the best Riesling, Chardonnay and Cab I have ever tasted. Not sure what went on that year but your 3 wines from the 2010 vintage are incomparable. I couldn’t believe how amazing the cab was. For a fairly recent vintage, it showed surprising maturity and smoothness. I just want to say kudos to you guys for everything you do. I have been smart enough to save some of my 2010 Chardonnay (still have 3 bottles left), and I’ll be sure to hang on to some of the 2010 Cab as well (if I don’t order more). I guess the next question is whether or not to get the 2010 Cooks Flat. Either way, thank you for everything you do, but especially for providing an outstanding 2010 vintage of your wines. I look forward to seeing you guys at some point in August or September. Thank you again and keep up the amazing work.

94 points…and a “place in the pantheon” for 2009 Cabernet

April 16, 2014

Wine Enthusiast, April 2014, Steve Heimoff
94 points, Cellar Selection
Smith-Madrone tends to fly under the radar for Napa Valley Cabernet, but discerning palates understand its place in the pantheon. Vintages aren’t always kind to this mountain fruit, but in 2009, the conditions were just right to produce a wine of immaculate structure. It has firm tannins and brisk acidity, and the flavors are classic, suggesting blackberries and cassis. As delicious as it is now, this will have no problem aging 10-15 years.

2012 Riesling’s elegance

April 8, 2014

Mike Dunne discusses the medal winners in the Riesling category in the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition:
Though the Smith-Madrone has .41 percent residual sugar, it drinks dry. More telling, it was one of the more complex rieslings tasted, alternating with suggestions of tropical fruits, peaches and apples. Its elegance would put it among the First Growths of California riesling, if there were such a classification.

Catching up with Stu in Omaha

March 31, 2014

On his trip to Omaha last week, Stu sat down with Chris Brown from Platinum and here is that wide-ranging conversation:

BiggerThanYourHead tastes the 2009 Cabernet

March 29, 2014

Dark ruby color; rigorous structure with mountain roots but such a pretty surface, violets and lavender, cassis, plums and black cherries, note of licorice; stout, robust tannins and dusty oak bastions; walnut shell and underbrush; gets dustier and more austere but still scrumptious; lithic chambers of blueberries, sweet smoke, soy sauce and barbecue; iodine, iron, resonant acidity. Drink 2015 or ’16 through 2025 to ’30. Always one of Napa Valley’s best and most characterful cabernets. Excellent. About $45, representing Great Value for the Quality.

Is Smith-Madrone a ‘hidden’ winery?

March 27, 2014

So says WineCountryGetaways:

Our Choice of Hidden Wineries in the Napa Valley

Believe it or not, there are some hidden wineries in the Napa Valley. It is hard to escape the crowds when visiting the Napa Valley especially on weekends. These wineries of the Napa Valley are sure to be less touristy. Some of these wineries are open by appointment only but don’t let that discourage you. They love to have visitors and will make you feel at home.
Smith-Madrone – A throwback in time on Spring Mountain

It all started in 1971 when the Smith Brothers purchased land on Spring Mountain to begin their amazing story of making wine in the Napa Valley. You won’t find a fancy tasting room or barrel room, or any merchandise for sale. The only thing you will find is just pure, honest, old-fashioned conversation and a passion for making good wine. Yes, Smith-Madrone represents the good old days of the Napa Valley. Visitors are welcome at Smith-Madrone, but call ahead to make sure someone is there to show you around. It is a beautiful ride up Spring Mountain and even more beautiful to experience this style of the Napa Valley. The tasting room is open by appointment Monday to Saturday, 707 963 2283,