Snow in all directions plus Vertical and Horizontal collections

Dear Friend:

California is becoming a state of extremes. The wildfires, the drought and now the snow and rain….

We believe it was 1973 when the top of Spring Mountain had well over two feet of snow and Spring Mountain Road wasn’t passable until the fourth day.  This year, starting on February 24, we received just under a foot of very wet and very heavy snow. Throughout all of Napa County very large limbs and trees came down blocking roads, taking down power lines, leaving motorists stranded and causing all sorts of damage. It was clearly the most damaging snow storm in the last fifty years . Stop by our Instagram to see lots of photos of the 11 inches of the white stuff that blanketed the ranch February 24 – 27 and more!

There was significant damage to our 140-year-old olive trees (heavy snow snapped a lot of branches). The snow then melted gracefully and gave the vines a great drink of water: all good!

Like good Boy Scouts we were prepared and there’s been no run-off nor erosion. It should be a bountiful wildflower crop this year!

We have four new sets of wines to announce for your purchasing pleasure.

2018 Riesling

It’s time to release the 2018 Riesling. The grapes were harvested September 6-8, 2018 and we made only 1,611 cases. Riesling is a grape we’re fiercely proud of growing and making. Here are the key attributes: steep slopes (up to 34%), at mountain-high elevation of up to 1,800 feet, 100% Riesling, mostly dry-farmed, one of very, very few in Napa Valley.  Riesling for us is a labor of love, not a profit center.

Charlie describes the wine in person and below.

The 2018 Riesling opens with abundant floral notes buttressed by underpinnings of lime, lemon and exotic oranges. This delicate, fetching aroma leads one to expect a wine on the lighter, more delicate side and, when tasted, this expectation is confirmed. On the palate the wine is stylish and elegant, demonstrating a brilliant acidity that is at once fine and lively, tasty and fun and not the least off putting. The acid feels just right; it’s very much like biting into a delicious, crunchy Riesling flavored apple. For a wine of this delicate construction, it still manages to retain a solid core of vibrant fruit. It’s svelte and elegant, it’s drinking beautifully now and shows great promise for the future.

Buy: $36.00 (750 ml)

Re-release 2013 Chardonnay

The grapes were harvested August 27 – September 5; we only made 806 cases. 100% Chardonnay, 100% barrel fermented, in 100% new French oak. We’re re-releasing it now as part of our tradition of offering occasional (outstanding) library wines.

Charlie explains:

Over the past few years 2013 has begun to emerge as an outstanding vintage for Smith-Madrone. The Cabernet Sauvignon, the Cook’s Flat Reserve and the Riesling are uniformly stellar and happily the Chardonnay fits right in.

After ten years in the bottle the wine has evolved into a wonderful example of a hillside chardonnay at the top of its game. 

Most chardonnay, of course, is drunk within the first year or two of bottling, and with good reason. This wine, however, is different. Rich green-gold in color, it opens with a textbook varietal perfume of nuttiness, ripe apricots, lemon curd and toast. On the palate it is medium weight with a middle that is strikingly lush, round and creamy. There is a distinct succulence pushing up from the center. At the finish the wine flows seamlessly into a zesty acidity that belies the wine’s age and lends it an elegant youthful flair. Over all, it is simply a marvelous glass of an older wine in top form and is a lovely argument for stashing away a bottle or two of your favorite current vintage of Smith-Madrone Chardonnay in order to find out what happens to it a few years down the road. 

Buy: $75.00 (750 ml)

Riesling Vertical 2018 – 2019 – 2021

Last year we offered a six-bottle Riesling vertical, which was very popular. We’re revisiting this idea with a slant to the future: a trio of Rieslings consisting of the 2018 along with two advance peeks—the 2019 and 2021 vintages. We didn’t make a 2020 wine, of course, because of the Glass Fire. We expect to release the 2019 wine in early 2024 and the 2021 in early 2025, so consider yourself a connoisseur of Riesling futures when you acquire this set (i.e. our pricing will probably move upwards!).

We think you’ll enjoy tasting the same varietal, from the same estate, grown and vinified by the same hands, with only the vintage as a differentiating variable.

We’ve combined the fact sheets to make it easy and we also offer a set of recipes we suggest will marry marvelously with the wines.

Vertical 2018, 2019, 2021 Riesling, one bottle each, with recipes

Buy: $108.00 (x3 750 ml)

Vertical 2018, 2019, 2021 Riesling, two bottles each, with recipes

Buy: $200.00 (x6 750 ml)

2019 Horizontal

Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cook’s Flat, Riesling: one bottle each

Another new offering is a very unusual horizontal tasting set: four wines from the 2019 vintage. These provide a delicious look into the future since the two whites won’t be released for at least one if not two years from now. Rarely does a winery offer a ‘horizontal’ such as this: four different varietals (and blends), from the same vintage and from the same estate vineyards.

Buy: $375.00 (x4 750 ml)

Fact sheets can be downloaded here.


….please keep shopping!Enjoy our other current releases:
2019 Cabernet Sauvignon
2019 Cook’s Flat Reserve
2016 Cook’s Flat Reserve 1.5L
2016 Riesling 1.5L
and Savvy Sippers 
and Tasty Trio collections

Also enjoy a speedy recap of 2022 on our Youtube channel.Stu was a guest on a podcast recently and his alma mater, UC Berkeley, stopped by for a chat.


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.

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