NowAnd Zin reviews the 2009 Cabernet:
Stuart and Charles Smith – brothers who attached their shared name to that of the trees from which their estate vineyard was reclaimed – pride themselves on making wines of balance. They are also proud to price their elegant offerings so they may appear on more dinner tables than those of just the one percent. At $45, the Smith-Madrone Cab is not exactly a bargain wine. It is, however, a value wine – one which could easily bring much more per bottle than it does.
From Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain District comes the 2009 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon. 84% of the grapes are mountainside-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, the other 16% equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wine is aged for 22 months in new American white oak barrels and is quite restrained at 13.9% abv. Just over 1,300 cases were produced. The vines are dry-farmed, which means the roots have to go deep for water and nutrients. This low-vigor method produces small berries packed with flavor. The cooler mountain climate helps keep ripeness, and therefore alcohol, in check.
The wine looks very dark and rich, but the nose shows equal parts herbs and fruit. The blackberry and blackcurrant aromas seem carried along by eucalyptus and sage. The palate is an elegant presentation of similar notes, with the flavor of cinnamon and tobacco riding herd of that cool-vintage fruit.