Skip to content

2015 Chardonnay is elegant, expressive

April 23, 2018

Rick Dean considers the 2015 Chardonnay at :

Much like the Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon that I wrote about previously, the winemakers at Smith-Madrone are making a wine that confounds the conventional style most associated with Napa Valley Chard. You know, that viscous, chewy, oaky and buttery style Chardonnay that folks either love or hate. Well, that is NOT this white wine. Make no mistake there is oak, as it spends ten months in 80% new French Oak barrels. But the oakiness of this wine is so well balanced with the other notes you will detect in this wine. This wine is elegant, expressive, and terroir*- (aka place) driven.

The Taste: As I lift the glass to my face to catch my first sniff, I am caught by the beautiful golden yellow color of this wine. As the wine reaches for the edges of the glass the intensity of the color fades to what I would call a mellow yellow. With my first whiff, I am flush with the smell of Golden Delicious (yellow) apples. This is not an apple I generally eat, but I am loving this note in this wine. Secondary notes of lemon rind also bounce around the glass.

As I take my first sip I am refreshed by the lightness and freshness of the acidity in this wine. Yellow apple jumps out as the primary flavor I detect. Secondarily comes the oak and a citrus medley of lemon and lime.

The contradiction continues as I continue to enjoy this wine. This wine is easy to drink and complex. There is a richness and a brightness that play on the scale that allows these features to rise and fall in your mouth.

Through Stress Comes Complexity: Complexity in wine comes from the struggle that the vines lived through during the growth of its fruit. As with all the Smith-Madrone wines, the Chardonnay is dry-farmed but had a torrent of weather activity that affected uniqueness of this wine. First, was the mild winter that caused for an early bud break*. This was followed by a cool Spring which caused a long blooming period that contributed to smaller grape clusters and variable berry size. The early blooms ripened too soon which caused a huge shatter* of that fruit. Finally, the harvest was interrupted by over 2 weeks because of huge amounts of rain.

As bad as it all sounds, all of these factors contributed to the development of this wine. Add in the high-quality winemaking skills of the Smith family and you end up with a wine that confounds and pleases. Thanks, Mother Nature and Thanks Mr.’s Smith!


2014 Cab’s ‘beautifully lithe flavors’

April 21, 2018

Vinography takes a look at the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon:

2014 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa, California
Medium to dark garnet in color, this wine smells of beautifully floral cherry and plum aromas. In the mouth, beautifully lithe flavors of cherry, plum, and dried flowers are juicy with acidity and wrapped in a cloak of muscular, fine grained tannins. Fantastic acidity makes the fruit fresh and mouthwatering. The acidity and tannic structure suggest this wine will be quite long lived. 13.9% alcohol.

Napa Valley Wine Academy’s podcast with Stu

April 16, 2018

Napa Valley Wine Academy talks to Stu as part of its podcast series:

In Episode 10 of our ongoing podcast series, The Stories Behind Wine, we speak to Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone Winery. Stu is a winemaker, a man of science and a passionate skeptic on many topics in the wine business. We cover a wide range of issues from biodynamics,…

Sun-drenched richness + high acidity freshness

April 16, 2018

Vinography looks at the 2015 Chardonnay:

2015 Smith Madrone Chardonnay, Spring Mountain District, Napa, California
Pale gold in the glass, this wine smells of lemon curd and buttered popcorn. In the mouth, wonderfully juicy flavors of lemon curd, candied grapefruit and a touch of butterscotch are positively electric with acidity. Phenomenally mouthwatering and delicious. There’s oak at work here, but it plays mostly into the silky texture of the wine, leaving the rich fruit and the explosive acidity to shine. This wine is a great example of a middle path for California Chardonnay, one which displays sun-drenched richness but at the same time keeps with the tradition of high acidity freshness that we all expect in our Burgundian Chardonnays.



April 14, 2018! Divide and conquer!

April 13, 2018

Divide and conquer on April 14, 2018!

Join Sam Smith at Cucina Enoteca in Irvine, California


Stu Smith at VinNebraska in Omaha, Nebraska!


Winemaker Lunch at CUCINA enoteca Irvine

Join CUCINA enoteca Irvine for a special Winemaker Lunch with Sam Smith and Josh Phelps out on the patio on Saturday, April 14th. This will be a three-course family style lunch with two wines per course.

About Sam Smith
Before joining Smith-Madrone Sam traveled, alternating working harvests at wineries and working as a sommelier at distinguished restaurants around the world. He has worked in Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Washington, the Caribbean, and a few wineries around Napa Valley as well. Born and raised in the Napa Valley, Sam grew up playing football, tennis and golf. He is an avid outdoorsman and obtained his degree from UC Santa Barbara.


wild watercress + beet cured salmon | radish + pickled onion + avocado + limoncello vinaigrette

smith madrone | riesling | napa valley
smith madrone | chardonnay | napa valley

mezzi rigatoni | lamb bolognese + mint pesto + ricotta salata

grounded wine co. | ‘collusion’ merlot blend | columbia valley, wa 
grounded wine co. | ‘steady state’ red blend | napa valley

rotisserie duck + chicken | market vegetables + ancient grain

ad vivum | ‘sleeping lady vineyard’ cabernet sauvignon | napa valley
curly st. james | red blend | napa valley

Please note that menu is subject to change based on chef’s whim and seasonal availability. If you have any food allergies, please make us aware at time of reservation.



Wine Tasting & Grand Auction open to the public at the Hotel RL at 3321 South 72nd Street. Starting at 5:00 pm, attendees will sample wines and hors d’oeuvres, and bid during the silent auction on a vast selection of gift-items and wine collectibles. Guests will be able to purchase a bottles of wine in our Mystery Wine Pull. The program will commence in the main ballroom at 7:00 pm to include a live auction with spectacular vacation get-aways, items from our participating vintners and other one-of-a-kind offerings. Metro Magazine’s readers have voted vinNEBRASKA’s wine event “Best of Omaha for Food & Wine Event.” It’s the best wine event in the region!

Evening Events

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Wine Tasting & Hors D’oeuvres

Enjoy meeting winemakers, winery owners and representatives from the wine industry while sampling their fantastic wines! 

5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. Silent Auction

Scroll through a vast array of unique action items. 

7:00 p.m. to Conclusion  Live Auction

Get ready for the Grandest of Auctions! There are many wonderful items ranging from valuable vintage wines to hand-crafted items and vacations that are sure to please!



2014 Cab “rocking my world”

April 12, 2018

StrongCoffeeToRedWine looks at the 2014 Cabernet:

APRIL 12, 2018

I have always heard that if you love what you do, it will never seem like work. No surprise… and a loud duh, I love drinking wine. More than that, I love trying new wines. One of the benefits of blogging about wine is that it forces me out of my comfort zone. I can not become complacent and drink the same style and variety of wine, bottle after bottle. It is essential that I branch out.

That said, it has been ages since I purposefully drank a California Cab. My experience with these Cabs. have been challenging at best, finding them to be a bit heavy-handed and too tannic for my taste. Then I was asked to try the Smith-Madrone 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon. Well, Misters Smith, you have made me a huge fan. And clearly, I have been buying all wrong.

The Smith-Madrone 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect balance of Old World and New World styles. It is soft and finessed. It is earth and fruit. And oh, it makes me smile from ear to ear while I look for a place to hide the bottle, so I do not have to share. Drats foiled again, Gary knows my hiding place.

The color is dark and purple with subtle purple-ruby edges. The aromas at the top* bring out cedar and a hint of wet terra cotta. At the bottom*, I find stewed prunes and raisins, and other black fruits mixed with a woodsy earthiness.  My drinking partner finds similar yet different aromas calling out dusty, dry cherries and dense mossy forest. We are both intrigued by the smells/aromas that seem to complement each other rather than fight for top billing.

From the first sip to the last there is roundness and balance. To me, black fruit permeates with a light kiss of acid right from the start. The tannins are soft and approachable.  As the wine finishes you get a second burst of acidity that cleanses your palate in anticipation of your next sip. Which I did… over and over and over again. This wine is rocking my world.

For my partner, he is struck by the harmony between the dark fruits and the earth.

Geez, we are both loving this wine. My sister pops in the house while we are sipping, so I hand her my glass.  All she can say is, “WOW!, damn that is good.”

One final comment: I was prepared to like this wine but did not expect to want to search it out locally.  I was so incredibly wrong. This is a fantastic wine.

2014 Cabernet at Nittany Epicurean

April 6, 2018

Nittany Epicurean takes a look:

Earlier this week, my ongoing series of discovery of some of the great wines of California brought us wines from some of my favorite wineries in the state. Today, the series will stay in Napa for another delicious cabernet from a winery for which I’ve developed quite an affinity:

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon grown, produced & bottled by Smith-Madrone (St. Helena, California).

This wine is mostly cabernet sauvignon (85%) blended with small amounts of cabernet franc (8%) and merlot (7%). The fruit – all estate grown – hails from Napa’s Spring Mountain District. Following fermentation, the wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels (70% new). It comes in at 13.9% ABV.

The wine showed a dark ruby color. Blackberry, raspberry, vanilla and oak on a nose that showed initial restraint. Cherry cola, raspberry, blackberry, vanilla, plum, licorice, oak and hints of eucalyptus followed on a palate much more developed than the nose. The wine exhibited good structure and length, along with soft tannins. This wine would pair classically with a dry-aged prime rib.