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2011 Cabernet is ‘polished’ and ‘sculpted’ and more from JamesTheWineGuy

December 17, 2014

JamesTheWineGuy reviews the 2011 Cabernet: “beautiful, polished, sculpted, an example of dry farming” and more:

“For the rare combination of character, elegance and spirit” — Mike Dunne suggests the 2010 Cabernet as a holiday gift

December 16, 2014

In The Sacramento Bee Mike Dunne includes the 2010 Cabernet as a gift for dinner parties:

Along with strands of colorful lights and sets of Nativity figures, sales of wine peak during the year-end holidays. But you may be asking what to buy, whether as a centerpiece for a Yuletide soiree or as a gift for your favorite wine geek.

When the dinner party is more serious and formal: the table is set with heirloom china, the candles are lit and the aroma of roast duck, prime rib or leg of lamb is competing with the smells of cedar and cinnamon. All that remains to be done is the greeting of guests and the opening of wine.

Cabernet sauvignon: For the rare combination of character, elegance and spirit in a wine, look no further than the Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery 2010 Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon, a seamless take on the varietal distinguished by lively red-fruit flavors, an intriguing thread of herbalness, firm but unintimidating tannins and refreshingly crisp acidity. The cool 2010 vintage was challenging, but brothers Stu and Charles Smith have been tending vines high on Spring Mountain for more than four decades and have learned how to roll with whatever weather is dealt them.



Jameson Fink calls our current releases “The Perfect Gift”

December 15, 2014

Jameson Fink calls our current releases “The Perfect Gift.” Please stop by his blog to read more and see the photo he used: :

There is something special about Spring Mountain. Leaving behind Napa Valley’s floor, you carefully wind your way up to higher altitudes where a new world unfolds. And it’s not just scenery that is transformed; the distinctiveness of the wines bear out that change as well. I was recently sent a trio of samples from Smith-Madrone that exemplify this mountain environment and distinct ethos. My thoughts on each:

  • 2012 Chardonnay 

Pretty dang toasty, but with a very lime-y liveliness in both smell and finish that really balanced it out. A fascinating examples of Napa Chardonnay that kept me guessing (in a good way) with each sip. I imagine this being a nice wine to revisit in a year or two. OAK IS CHARDONNAY’S FRIEND.

  • 2013 Riesling 

Riesling? From Napa Valley? Fascinating! This dry wine had a fine amount of richness along with proud Riesling character. It’s a bit of a survivor, too, showing well even after being open for a week inthe harsh, barren clime of my bachelor fridge. (Between the Tapatio and Sriracha, truth be told. Actually, it would be a great wine for spicy food.) Stuart Pigott, author of “Best White Wine on Earth: The Riesling Story” (read my interview with Pigott), calls Smith-Madrone “the unsung heroes of American Riesling” and puts their bottling in his global Top 20 Dry Rieslings list. ATTENTION ALL WINE GEEKS. 

  • 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon 

I am hard-pressed to think of a better Napa Cab for under 50 bucks. This bottle of Smith-Madrone is a testament to both site and winemaking. And I am quite particular about Cabernet, truth be told. I like it to show true Cabernet character, which I define as having notes of wonderful green things. Like olives, herbs, mint, eucalyptus. Now, I’m not saying it should taste like vegetables, but this is the side of Cabernet that, when leaned towards, gets me excited. This bottle drank wonderfully for three days, was not lacking in richness, and delivered P-L-E-A-S-U-R-E. Stuff this in your stocking or, to be safe, put a case under your tree and enjoy how it develops over the years. On my triple buy scale it gets a BUY BUY BUY.


Vinography calls the 2012 Chardonnay “an exceptional wine in the 2012 vintage”

December 12, 2014

Alder Yarrow at Vinography reviews the 2012 Chardonnay on December 7:

Other reliable producers…including Smith Madrone, which can be counted on for excellent wines…In particular the Smith Madrone Chardonnay stood out as an exceptional wine in the 2012 vintage….Pale gold in color, this wine smells of wet chalkboard, oatmeal, and lemon curd. In the mouth, electrically bright flavors of lemon juice and pink grapefruit have a faint herbal quality to them as if strained through chamomile. Very pretty with excellent acidity. Will likely age beautifully.

Stu on Bacchus & Beery Wine Radio

December 11, 2014

Tune in tomorrow, December 12, at 1 pm PST to hear Stu in conversation with Roger and Donna Beery on VoiceAmerica, .


Stu on Slow Living Radio

December 9, 2014

Listen to Stu in conversation with Sally James and Steve Andrews on Slow Living Radio at, starting at 28:10.

You could also browse through their other podcasts at

2013 Riesling is elegant and more, in James Melendez’ video review

December 8, 2014

Elegant…and more…in James The Wine Guy’s video review of the 2013 Riesling: