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Stuart Pigott thanks Sam for coming to The Night of 100 Rieslings

July 27, 2015

 Stuart Pigott thanks Sam for coming to The Night of 100 Rieslings in Michigan: 

@CityofRiesling Diary: Day 4 – Tonight’s the Night (of 100 Rieslings in Traverse City, Michigan)

Other wines have their annual day and Riesling used (in theory) to own the summer, but actually most people enjoy wine as part of a great night out, and I’m not arguing with that. It may be a simple observation, but if Riesling is the Best White Wine on Earth (the title of my book on the subject published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang), then it could well be the best wine to drink tonight. And this will be particularly true here in Traverse City, Michigan, because tonight the second @CityofRiesling festival kicks off with the Night of 100 Rieslings downtown close to the shore of Lake Michigan. Normally I don’t kick off a posting with a landscape image, but this picture shot from the deck of a boat on the lake last night was so spectacular I wanted to give you an idea of what the backdrop will be tonight. If you are unable to join us tonight, I suggest you scroll up to this shot and open a bottle of Riesling, or maybe two or three.

Although the @CityofRiesling is all about celebrate the wines of my favorite grape it has a serious purpose as well and, hard as it may be to believe, the above picture illustrates that. It shows Sam Smith of Smith Madrone winery in Napa Valley, California relaxing in the waters of Grand Traverse Bay last night. He’s one of the many winemakers who travelled large distances to be here, to pour their wines and to exchange ideas. The dry 2014 Riesling from Smith Madrone has as much vitality and elegance as this winery’s better known Cabernet Sauvignon reds (the 2012 is a beautiful example of this), and likewise proves that even that region so associated with massive, opulent and sweetish tasting wines has a completely different side of which Riesling is a part. This proves that it wasn’t the Great God of Wine who ordained that Napa should produce Big Cabs, but men and women, consumers (who I regard as co-producers) no less than producers.

Proud to be #8 in The Daily Meal’s list of Top 100 U.S. wineries

July 26, 2015

We’re honored to be #8 in The Daily Meal’s list of the 101 Best Wineries in America:

101 Best Wineries in America for 2015

July 23, 2015 by Colman Andrews, Editor

The wineries on our list were nominated by experts in the field — sommeliers, wine writers, chefs, and restaurateurs, along with wine-savvy editors at The Daily Meal. Where possible, we factored in our own tasting notes of recent vintages; we also consulted the leading wine publications and newsletters and considered recent awards from prestigious competitions.

We considered not just individual wines, though, but the overall place of each winery in the American wine scene. Is is a dependable veteran, tried and true? An audacious innovator? Does it specialize in just one or two grape varieties, or do a sterling job with 20? Is it representative of its corner of the wine country? Does it help, in one way or another, enhance the reputation of its region, and/or of American wine in general?

We also factored in quality-to-price ratio. While this wasn’t our principal criterion, we did feel that value should be considered in our ranking strategy. Value doesn’t necessarily mean low price, of course, so there are some producers of pricey wines represented here. But our consideration of value accounts in part for the absence from our list of some of famous “trophy wines” from the Napa Valley and elsewhere, wines priced at many hundreds of dollars on release and bought more often (we’re pretty sure) as status symbols rather than as delicious things to savor — though it is also worth noting that our panel didn’t vote for some of the most famous names at all.

We’re proud of the following list, and grateful to the experts who helped us compile it……

#8 Smith-Madrone Vineyards and Winery, St. Helena, Calif.

A couple of amiable, bearded-and-mustachioed brothers, Stuart and Charles Smith (no relation to prolific Washington State winemaker Charles Smith, No. 52) — vineyard manager and winemaker, respectively — make their winery home near the summit of Spring Mountain, long known as the home of some of Napa Valley’s best producers. Here, they farm about 34 acres of cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay, and riesling, with small quantities of merlot and cabernet franc for blending. Production remains small — about 5,000 cases a year — and Smith-Madrone wines seldom show up on trophy lists, but connoisseurs who really know California wine tend to love them. The chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon regularly win gold medals around the country, and the winery’s exquisite riesling was named “Best Riesling in the World” in 1979 at the International Wine Championships sponsored by France’s Gault-Millau magazine. They’re under the radar, but on top of their game — which is why The Daily Meal named Smith-Madrone its 2014 Winery of the Year.

2005 Cabernet is “beautiful” and more in video at MyWineWords

July 24, 2015

Allie Merrick and Peter Eizel of MyWineWords found the 2005 Cabernet ‘beautiful’ (and more!) in this video review:

Gotta love a Napa Cabernet that is found to be both regal and royal on the palate. With eucalyptus and dark fruit notes on the nose, the palate pleases with more black fruit and cooking spices. Refined tannin and respectable acid make this 2005 an exceptional bottle of Spring Mountain Cabernet from Smith-Madrone.

Sam represents the winery at The Night of 100 Rieslings July 26-27

July 23, 2015

Sam is headed to Michigan July 26-27 to participate in Planet Riesling

and The Night of 100 Rieslings organized by Riesling guru Stuart Pigott.

Details are here:

See Stu at The Savory Grape in East Greenwich, Rhode Island on June 25

June 24, 2015

On June 25, saunter up to Stu at The Savory Grape in East Greenwich, Rhode Island.


Taste with Stu at Bellevue Wine & Spirits in Newport RI today, June 24

June 24, 2015

Come taste with Stu today from 5:00 until 7:00 pm at Bellevue Wine & Spirits in Newport, Rhode Island. Call or email ahead, please, to let them know you’re coming!

Stu on TV in Rhode Island

June 23, 2015

And the week in Rhode Island starts with a tv segment: