“Equal parts guts and nuance” says Isaac Baker

5 California Wineries That Wowed Me in 2013

2013 was a great year, wasn’t it? Over the course of the year I tasted a lot of amazing wines and toured many a beautiful California vineyard. As a writer for the daily wine blog Terroirist, I blind-tasted my way through a lot of samples in 2013, most of which hailed from CA. I found myself gravitating toward several producers who put out consistently awesome wines, regardless of vintage or grape variety.

Founded in 1971, Smith-Madrone’s winery is located on Spring Mountain, west of St. Helena. The operation is run by brothers Stuart Smith, managing partner and vineyard manager, and Charles Smith III, winemaker. They dry farm their estate vineyards, which line steep slopes between 1,300 and 2,000 feet in elevation. Their mountain wines are dynamic, lively and they show a refreshing sense of purity and minerality.

92 points: Dark ruby color. Aromas of plum sauce, black cherries, sweet vanilla, caramel, some nice forest floor and peppered steak. On the palate, medium acid and firm tannins. Currants and plum fruit lead the way, followed by some kicking spices, charcoal and an herbal, maybe a pickled beet note? Sweet vanilla and cedar, but not too much, and they’re matched by the fallen leaves and soil notes that come out strong on the finish. I love this tart pickle note. A unique wine with equal parts guts and nuance. Seriously impressive stuff that’s built to last. Includes 8% Merlot and 8% Cab Franc, the wine was aged 22 months in new American white oak.


Author: corkingnapa

Julie Ann Kodmur is a second-generation Californian who was born in San Francisco and grew up in La Jolla. As an eighth grader she was the runner-up in the state spelling bee. She’s lived in Italy and New York and now lives in the Napa Valley with her family. She is a marketing and publicity consultant in the wine industry. Her business life can be seen at http://www.julieannkodmur.com. This is the home for the overflow. The ‘title’ is a reference to a sculpture honoring an Argentinean journalist who practiced his craft in the 1930s before literally dying for his words. No such drama here, just hopefully some provocative fun.

%d bloggers like this: