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‘Stellar’ new releases

February 4, 2018

Isaac Baker at Terroirist reviews new releases from California:


California time again! I’m really excited about a lot of the wines in this report.

Smith-Madrone, per usual, contributes two stellar new releases….

2015 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay – Spring Mountain District

Rich golden color. Smells of yellow apples and pears, drizzled with lime, nougat, honeycomb, chalk dust, chamomile, mint — Wow! On the palate, this has such refreshing acidity but the texture is creamy and there’s this tingly mineral depth that is fascinating, superbly balanced. Lemon curd, apricot, yellow apple, rich but nuanced fruit along with honeysuckle, salted almond, chalk dust, saline, candle wax. Lively and precise but packed with flavor and finishes with stony minerals. Always a classic Napa Chard for me, but this vintage is exceptional. Barrel-fermented and aged 10 months in French oak, 80% new, and yes its 14.9% alcohol but the balance is phenomenal.


2014 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon – Spring Mountain District

Deep ruby color. Gorgeous aromatics of black currants, tart plums, eucalyptus, charcoal, smashed rocks, violets, coffee. Bold tannic grip on the palate, and while the acidity keeps it so fresh, this is a very young and compact wine. But plenty of cherry and blackberry and currant fruit, so fresh but rich. Laced with cocoa powder, cedar, anise, mineral and gravel. Complex, fruity, silky, age-worthy. This is another excellent effort that is impressive now but will show its best in 4-8 years, I reckon. Includes 8% Cabernet Franc and 7% Merlot, aged in French oak for 18 months, 70% new.


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