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2015 Riesling…vibrates with racy nervosity..

August 13, 2018

The 2015 Riesling was chosen as Wine of the Day by Fred Koeppel on August 13:

The Smith-Madrone Vineyards Riesling 2015 is made from dry-farmed vines high atop Spring Mountain, west of the city of St. Helena in the central Napa Valley. Seeing no oak, the wine practically vibrates with racy nervosity and a scintillating limestone and flint element. A light straw-gold hue, the Smith-Madrone Riesling 2015, Spring Mountain District, offers delicate aromas of peach, lychee and pear wreathed with notes of jasmine and honeysuckle and the true varietal character of slightly oily petrol, a quality sometimes referred to as rubber eraser; a few moments in the glass bring in hints of apple and lime peel. This one feels chiseled in its lovely, chiming tone and presence on the palate, delivering crystalline clarity of peach and spiced pear flavors driving through to a bracing, slightly saline finish pointed by a touch of grapefruit bitterness. 12.6 percent alcohol. Production was 685 cases. Enticing now, this superior riesling will drink best from 2020 through 2030. Excellent.


Charlie opining on Cabernet Franc

August 9, 2018

A surreptitious video of Charlie talking about Cabernet Franc:

Smith-Madrone re-release & open house

August 9, 2018

Dear Friends,

Open House Banner

Before the days of summer start slipping away we want to be sure that you join us at our next Open House on Saturday, October 6, 2018 from 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m.We’ll be pouring library wines and current releases, great music and our family hospitality, all on our magical mountaintop. Space is limited so please purchase your tickets here. 
Here’s a peek at last year’s fun-filled afternoon.

Re-release of the 2006 Riesling

We’ve been tasting library wines for the perfect one to offer you as an addition to your cellar.
Here are Stu’s comments:
The 2006 Riesling is a spectacular wine of elegance and power that rivals any 2006 red wines from anywhere – period. Mint, licorice, mandarin orange, a veritable rainbow of flavors. There are not many wines that can truly be called great, and while this wine is too young to be called that, it certainly might be close.
We’re offering this unusual and delicious cellar aged wine for $125 per bottle, with a limit of a three-bottle purchase. This wine will ship in early October.
At the time the wine was released in spring of 2008, Eric Asimov from the New York Times paid Smith-Madrone a visit and wrote “We tasted five Rieslings, from 2006 back to 1993, and it was fascinating to see how the wines evolved. The ’06 was fresh and young, dry and tasting of citrus and flowers, with the unchanneled energy of a puppy.
Don’t you want to know what it is tasting like now?
Other reviews of the wine can be found here.
We’d be delighted to add current releases of Chardonnay, Cabernet, Riesling or Cook’s Flat to your order and hold those wines for shipping till October as well.
Ready for a quick break for whatever you’re doing …? Watch a drone visit flyover of our vineyard from earlier this summer.
See you in October!

Stu Smith, Charlie Smith, Sam Smith & Bonnie Zimmermann




Vinography on 2015 Riesling: “best ever…”

August 5, 2018

Vinography looks at the 2015 Riesling:


Vinography Unboxed: Week of 7/29/18

Hello, and welcome to my periodic dig through the samples pile. I’m pleased to bring you the latest installment of Vinography Unboxed, where I highlight some of the better bottles that have crossed my doorstep recently.

This week was an all-California week, and involved a number of interesting wines.

Let’s start with the reliably excellent Riesling from Smith-Madrone, who have thumbed their noses at the world for decades and made Riesling from the slopes of Spring Mountain, where everyone else would be growing Cabernet. The wine is usually excellent, but I do think this is the best it’s ever tasted on release.

2015 Smith-Madrone Riesling, Spring Mountain District, Napa, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of Asian pear and wet chalkboard and a touch of paraffin. In the mouth, Asian pear, lemon zest, and tangerine juice flavors are zippy with excellent acidity. Clean crisp, with a nice wet chalkboard minerality. This wine is always excellent, but the 2015 strikes me as exceptionally well balanced and exciting. 12.6% alcohol.

Charlie conducts a white wine tasting

August 3, 2018

Charlie will conduct a white wine tasting at Rakestraw Books’ Summer Camp For Grownups in Danville on August 8.

Read all about it:

We are excited to announce the return of one of our most beloved programs: Summer Camp for Grown-Ups! This year’s camp will take place on Wednesday, 8 August 2018 in a beautiful new location, Luminary Farm. 87 acres of hiking trails, oak trees, a gorgeous pool, and lots of room for all our activities. You all are going to love it.

We are thrilled to announce that IACP Award-winner Georgeanne Brennan will be our keynote speaker sharing her stunning new book, Windows on Provence. Georgeanne will be at the center of a full day that will include yoga, hiking, hands-on workshops, and time to relax.

In addition to being our lunchtime speaker Georgeanne Brennan will teach a cooking workshop. More workshops will be led by author Leslie Jonath (art and flowers); Keva Dodd from Danville’s Whim House; Lisa McGuinness (photography); and others. And, of course, we’ll be starting the day with a choice of yoga or a hike and finishing the afternoon with wine tasting. Charles Smith, winemaker at Smith-Madrone Vineyards in the Napa Valley, will conduct the tasting of several unusual white wines, including the 2015 Smith-Madrone Riesling.

Ticket price includes all workshops and activities as well as a gourmet lunch catered by Piatti Ristorante and wine tasting. All participants will receive a goody bag full of books and other carefully curated treats.


Re-releasing the 2006 Riesling

August 1, 2018

We’re getting ready to re-release the 2006 Riesling….take note….

The wine received gold medals from The Orange County Fair and Critics’ Challenge.

Eric Asimov in The New York Times, in a profile of the winery on August 8, 2007, wrote:

We tasted five rieslings, from 2006 back to 1993, and it was fascinating to see how the wines evolved.  The ’06 was fresh and young, dry and tasting of citrus and flowers, with the unchanneled energy of a puppy.

The Wine Enthusiast‘s review (appearing in the September 2007 issue):

92 points: Doesn’t say “dry” on the label, like so many others do, but it really is basically dry, which allows the palate to savor the pure fruit of the grape and the beautifully crisp acids.  This really is one of the most balanced Rieslings in California, with a slate and petrol edge to the green apple, pineapple, nectarine and wildflower flavors.  If you like aging your whites, it should effortlessly glide through the next 10 years in a cool cellar.

In the August 2007 issue of The Wine News:

93 points, Editors’ Choice: Enticing mineral-tinged aromas of white peach, shy petrol and dried apricot.  Full bodied with brisk acidity, the wine is fairly bursting with luscious apricot and peach fruit edged with crushed stone minerality and a subtle undertone of tropical fruit, showing fine depth of flavor and excellent acid balance, finishing with a hint of white grapefruit.


Suggested by The New York Times “Wine School” today

August 1, 2018

We’re so honored to be recommended as a California riesling in The New York Times’ Wine School today.

Your Next Lesson: American Rieslings: Three States, Three Flavors

by Eric Asimov, August 1, 2018

Few international grapes do justice to a multitude of regions as well as riesling. When planted in the right climate and soil, riesling has the wonderful capacity to reflect the characteristics of a particular place better than most grapes. At Wine School, we have examined rieslings from Germany, both dry and moderately sweet, and dry rieslings from Austria.

Now, let’s look at dry American rieslings and see how they compare. “American” is a more generalized view than I would prefer, but it is the best of several alternatives.

Ideally, we would focus tightly on a particular region: Finger Lakes rieslings, for example, or rieslings from the Old Mission Peninsula of Michigan. But such a narrow examination poses a fundamental problem: These wines are not distributed widely enough. I can’t find three Michigan rieslings in New York — good ones, at least — while few Finger Lakes rieslings are available in, say, California.

One option might be to look at several mass-marketed American rieslings. But again, too few of these wines would bear up under close examination. So I have chosen good American rieslings from three different states (California, New York and Oregon) with the hope that readers will be able to find at least one of these, or good alternatives.

…..look for California rieslings from Smith-Madrone….

Serve these rieslings cool to chilled, but not icy, lest the nuances be overwhelmed by cold.

Wondering what to serve? Delicate seafood preparations are excellent, particularly freshwater fish. Dry riesling goes very well with Asian dishes, unless the recipe calls for chiles, in which case you want a riesling with some residual sugar. Vegetable dishes and salads will be fine, as will chicken, particularly if you use some of the riesling for a sauce.

…as you sip, ask yourself these questions….


How do these three rieslings differ?


Rieslings are known for their acidity. How is it expressed?


How do these wines feel in the mouth?

The complete article: