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“Splendid” and more from Grape-experiences

February 28, 2018

Grape-experiences looks at the 2014 Cabernet and 2015 Chardonnay:

Elegant and Powerful – Sips from Smith-Madrone Winery

by Cindy Rynning, February 28, 2018

Whenever I open a box that contains wines from Smith-Madrone Winery in St. Helena, California, I’m always thrilled. Why? I’m assured that each wine is crafted with care, is always consistent with regards to quality, and is guaranteed to please even the most discerning palate. Anyone who loves wine will treasure each sip of a delectable choice from one of my favorite wineries.

“Nestled on Spring Mountain Road, a mere 30-minute drive from St. Helena, is Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery, a 200- acre ranch partly planted as a vineyard over one hundred years ago. Where California black bears and other wildlife once flourished, gigantic 120-year-old Picholine olive trees now thrive on land that overlooks Napa Valley and Napa Valley State Park. World class vineyards do, too.” For more, please click here to read my article: Fascinating Smith-Madrone: The People, The Place, The Wines.

The grapes in each wine from Smith-Madrone are cultivated in estate vineyards surrounding the winery. Located atop Spring Mountain at an 1800-foot elevation and west of St. Helena in Napa Valley, the vines grow on extremely steep slopes with red Aiken soil from weathered volcanic materials and sedimentary rock.

For 47 years, Smith-Madrone grapes have been sourced from the same vineyards. These historic lands produce grapes that have been pruned, cultivated, and harvested in the same manner… and by the same people. Yet, “Mother Nature stamps each vintage with a unique set of flavors, senses, and character”.  As a result, the portfolio of wines exudes artisanal flair and diverse characteristics that are quite unique to the Spring Mountain District.

Now, the talented winemakers at Smith-Madrone have released two selections, both sent to me as samples. With every sip, elegance and power combined to offer two exceptional examples of wines from this fascinating region. Each will be a crowd favorite at your next gathering or perfect for a moment in time with a loved one, your favorite book, or best friend…

Smith-Madrone 2015 Chardonnay – Chardonnay aficionados will crave this latest release. The 2015 harvest began on August 27, a bit early, and was completed on September 16. Because of a mild winter that caused early bud break and a spring season that was cool, smaller grape clusters and variable crop size resulted. Only 512 cases were produced of this beautiful 100% Chardonnay. On the nose, I explored notes of pink grapefruit, bright citrus, pineapple, and tropical fruit. My palate burst with mouthwatering acidity, juicy citrus, a touch of honey and a creamy, yet crisp mouthfeel. The finish, lingering and complex, was remarkable. Aged for 10 months in 80% new French oak, this Chardonnay stuns.

Smith-Madrone 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon  – The 2014 vintage year produced an extraordinary amount of quality grapes. Although the 2013-2014 winter broke records for being the driest in California, grapes cultivated were smaller and boasted high concentration of flavors. This Cabernet is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc, and 7% Merlot that spent 18 months in French oak before bottling. Wafting from the glass were intense aromas of rich red cherries, tobacco, smoke, juicy plums, blackberries, and subtle notes of earth. Bright acidity and satin-like tannins enveloped textured, complex notes of spice and dark fruit on the palate. Elegant and supple, this is a splendid wine that can be aged for twenty-five years…if you’re willing.


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