The taste of Smith-Madrone as expressed in several varietals….

Our thanks to Laura Donadoni for her kind words about the 2006 and 2015 Rieslings and the 2012 Cook’s Flat from her recent experiences in Napa Valley:

Napa Valley, the hidden face of the 5 stars U.S. wine region

by Laura Donadoni, July 17, 2018

As an Italian, diversity is something I look for in everything: culture, food and, of course, wine. Diversity is something that defines my DNA: Italy is one of the most diverse countries in the world from a biological, botanical, chemical and cultural point of view. That is why I am always amazed when I find diversity where I would not have expected to find it.

We have this wrong idea about Napa Valley (and by “we,” I intend “wine geeks,” above all, ‘European wine geeks’): the land of fruity, expensive and over-oaked Chardonnays and Cabernets. I know some American wine friends may argue this is not true anymore, but I invite those fellows to cross the pond and try to start a conversation about this in France, Italy or Spain where a bottle of Californian imported wine is still a rare find (but this is another story)…

I said WRONG idea because, with this article, I would like to bring to your attention another Napa Valley: a new, different approach to grape varieties and production I was happy to witness during my last trip to wine country.

I spent three wonderful days in Napa with the Wine Writers’ Educational Tour.

NAPA ICONS, classic outstanding old vintages tasting

……a memorable wine tasting of rare vintages and iconic wines! …What caught my attention in particular has been the Smith-Madrone Riesling. We tasted the 2015 and the 2006, they both were stunning! They are wines which can stand easily 25-35 years of ageing, no kidding. The vines of the iconic vineyard of Smith-Madrone are 34 years old, dry farmed,  and they produce their Riesling in the exact same way from the beginning, with no or minimal residual sugar. What comes out from the bottle is the true character of the vintage and the terroir. Great, great job!

THE HIGHER, THE BETTER: the eagles of NAPA Valley

Altitude matters.  Wine carved from extreme landscapes. This was the eloquent title of one of the most exciting tasting I had in the 3 days of Wine Writers tour…the tasting just blew my mind. The wines were selected from the most high altitude AVAs of Napa: Atlas Peak, Howell Mountain, Diamond Mountain, Spring Mountain and Mount Veeder. All these areas shows a huge diversity of soil compositions, mostly morainic and volcanic.

My absolute favorite? Smith-Madrone, 2012 Cook’s Flat Reserve, Spring Mountain AVA. I guess I have a thing for Smith-Madrone, what do you say?

Read her entire article here:

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 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.