Skip to content

95 points for the 2012 Chardonnay

March 22, 2015

Tasting the 2012 Chardonnay, Robert Whitley just wrote:

95 points: Smith-Madrone may be more renowned for its cabernet sauvignon and riesling, but its chardonnay takes a back seat to no one. Spring Mountain is no stranger to world-class chardonnay, either, with Stony Hill, the neighboring vineyard, long holding sway among California chardonnay producers. This vintage of Smith-Madrone shows a toasty note on the nose, with a lemon oil nuance that is present in most great California chardonnays. With a stony mineral quality as well, this is one of the finest chardonnays I’ve yet tasted from this top-notch Napa Valley winery.

Riesling is ‘sassy and edgy’ in a group tasting

March 19, 2015

Ellen Landis wrote about a tasting of Rieslings from many regions:

Wine writers joined up recently for our “Judgment of Geyserville II” blind tasting.   This year’s focus was Riesling from AVAs located in California, Michigan, British Columbia, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and New York.   As you might imagine, there was a good measure of stone fruit, minerality and lively acidity tickling our palates.   Yet each wine also unveiled its own uniqueness, and a sense of place was often recognized.  My impressions below are listed in the random order in which the wines were arranged for this blind tasting:

Smith Madrone Vineyards & Winery 2013 Riesling:  A bit restrained on the nose initially, minerality peeks through after aeration.   Granny Smith apples and sweet citrus fruit unfold in the mouth with lemon taffy, freshly squeezed lime and orange rind flavors playing off one another.  This is a sassy, edgy Riesling with liberal acidity from start to finish.

Visiting Brits see vines & redwoods!

March 17, 2015

Some visiting Brits saw all the vineyards and the redwoods:

Yes, we dry farm!

March 12, 2015

Are The Best Tasting Wines Dry Farmed?

By Katie Kelly Bell, March 12, 2015

When talking about wine, the term dry farmed might not be the kind of descriptor that inspires passion, curiosity or thirst. Yet, if you like wine, the term is probably a descriptor you should know about. Why? In short, dry farmed wines are not irrigated and many argue that practice yields a big difference in taste. …Essentially, a wine that is dry farmed only gets the water that Mother Nature sees fit to give. The vine is then left to struggle for water during dry spells, which can often mean much of the growing season. This aspect of struggle requires the vine’s roots to dig deeply in search of water. The deeper a vine’s roots, the more exposure it gets to native terroir, not just the top layer of soil. Also, many argue that dry farmed wines have greater flavor because the grapes tend to be smaller and more concentrated….Without a doubt, dry farming grapes requires an attentive winemaker to ensure the grapes ripen properly. The winemakers forgoing irrigation are indeed crafting some amazingly elegant wines.

Some Dry Farmed Wines/Wineries to sample now:

Smith-Madrone Vineyards, Napa—Brothers Stuart and Charles Smith dry farm the grapes for their cabernet sauvignon, chardonnay and riesling wines. Vines grow on steep hillsides in the northern end of Napa Valley, yielding concentration and finesse.

Smith-Madrone partners with ODC Dance for their Gala on March 20: tix still available!

March 11, 2015

Smith-Madrone is honored to be the wine sponsor for ODC Dance Company’s Dance Downtown Gala on March 20 in San Francisco. A few tickets are still available by going to

The evening is the premiere of KT Nelson’s exhilarating new work Dead Reckoning and Brenda Way and Nelson’s The Invention of Wings, a re-imagining of Way’s site-specific piece commissioned for the opening of Ai Weiwei’s @Large project on Alcatraz. The evening is a benefit fundraiser for the creation of new choreography.

Festivities begin with a gala dinner at the St. Regis, where Smith-Madrone’s Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon will be served. The evening continues with a performance at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts Theater and an after-party with the dancers and choreographers at the St. Regis. This is the third year for this collaboration between ODC and Smith-Madrone.

ODC is known throughout the world for its athleticism, passion and intellectual depth. Among the many awards ODC’s three resident choreographers–Brenda Way, KT Nelson and Kimi Okada–have received are a Guggenheim, six Isadora Duncan Dance Awards — including two lifetime achievement awards — a San Francisco Examiner Golden Slipper Award, and a Tony nomination. Brenda Way was selected as the first choreographer to serve as Resident of the Arts at the American Academy in Rome for 2009/10 and recently received a prestigious leadership award from the San Francisco Foundation. ODC has been hailed as “Best Dance Company” in the San Francisco Bay Guardian‘s Best of the Bay 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012 and 2013 editions. In 2009 ODC was selected by BAM as one of three dance companies to tour internationally under the aegis of the U.S. State Department’s inaugural DanceMotion USA tour.

Founded in 1971 by Artistic Director Brenda Way, ODC (Oberlin Dance Collective, named after its place of origin, Oberlin College in Ohio) loaded up a yellow school bus and relocated to San Francisco in 1976. Her goal was to ground the company in a dynamic, pluralistic setting. ODC was the first modern dance company in the U.S. to build its own home facility in 1979, from which it operates a school, a theater, a gallery and a health clinic for dancers. In September 2005, under Way’s leadership, ODC opened a second performing arts facility, the ODC Dance Commons. And in the fall of 2010, ODC unveiled its newly renovated and expanded Theater. Through its dozens of programs ODC strives to inspire audiences, cultivate artists, engage community, and foster diversity and inclusion through dance performance, training, and mentorship.

ODC/Dance Downtown’s 44th home season, March 12 – 22, consists of boulders and bones, with live music by Zoë Keating on March 12, 12, 14 and 15. The season continues with The Invention of Wings (World Premiere, Brenda Way) and Dead Reckoning (World Premiere, KT Nelson) on March 20, 21 and 22. Tickets are available by calling 415-978-ARTS (2787) or online at  For more information about ODC/Dance, visit the Company’s website at

Smith-Madrone and ODC have partnered in the past. They jointly celebrated their 40th anniversaries on July 11, 2011, when the winery provided wines for a benefit performance at ODC’s Dance Theater in San Francisco. A glimpse of the evening:

Smith-Madrone participating in the Oakland Wine Festival in July

March 11, 2015

Smith-Madrone will be participating in the first annual Oakland Wine Festival on July 18, 2015 at Mills College.

Stay tuned for more details!

More info and tickets:

2011 Cabernet is deemed “Exceptional” in The Washington Post

March 10, 2015

*** (Exceptional)

Smith-Madrone is high up on Spring Mountain, just west of Saint Helena, with steep, picturesque vineyards overlooking the valley. The 2011 vintage was uneven throughout Napa Valley, but Smith-Madrone produced a top-notch, elegant cabernet that features Bordeaux-like characteristics of blackberry fruit with that graphite/pencil character wine lovers will recognize, plus lip-smacking, refreshing acidity. And if you can restrain from gulping the bottle, it’s even better the second night. Alcohol by volume: 14.3 percent.