And a few writers have shared their opinions:
Terroirist.com, Isaac Baker, October 21, 2022
95 points: Vibrant purple color. The fruit on the nose shows these tart but deep vibes (black cherries, blueberries, currants), mixed with these scents of iron, graphite, sage, tobacco and pepper. Give it air, and there’s a ton to coax out. On the palate, this is full but fresh with nice grip and crisp acidity. The black currant and cherry fruit is juicy and tangy, and the mouthfeel is smooth and effortless. The fruit is woven in well with flavors of tobacco, roasted red pepper, sage and clove. Nuanced, gorgeous complexity, this is a stellar 2019 Cab that deserves time in the cellar and some great company. Includes 12% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot, aged 18 months in 55% new French oak.
Napa Valley Register, Dan Berger, October 11
Wine of the Week: To best illustrate how Napa Valley can produce Cabs of longevity and achieve it with wines that work brilliantly soon with food, the brothers Smith have crafted yet another classic from 1,800 feet above the valley floor. This wine has traces of dried herbs, Latakia tobacco, thyme, olive, and tea. Stu Smith said, “It’s my kind of Napa Valley Cab with layers of black and red fruit and good acid – a kind of old California style… We’re more of a European style winery, we want wines that age well.” The numbers: pH is 3.56, acid is .68, alcohol is 14.3%. It’s made to be at a peak in 20 years or more.
John Jackson, AttorneySomm on Instagram, October 11, 2022
Near the top of Spring Mountain you will find Smith-Madrone Vineyards & Winery. Smith-Madrone has 38 acres of vineyards on its 170-acre ranch. 13 of these acres are devoted to Cabernet Sauvignon. The vineyards are planted on steep slopes at elevations ranging from 1,300-2,000 feet. Smith-Madrone was an early proponent of dry farming. Dry farming causes the grapevines to struggle and search of water and nutrients. The result is lower yields with small grapes that have high skin-to-juice ratios and produce concentrated fruit. This fruit, in turn, leads to wine with greater intensity and concentration than wine made from grapes that are the product of high yields.
While I typically enjoy Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon with some additional bottle age, I recently decided to get an early read on the 2019 Smith-Madrone Estate Cabernet Sauvignon! This wine consists of 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot. It was aged for 18 months in 55% new French oak. Flavors and aromas included blackcurrant, blackberry, black cherry, plums, pencil lead, violets, vanilla bean, sage and spice mix. This wine is always very enjoyable!
Owen Bargreen, October 6, 2022
93 points: I love the historic houses of the Napa Valley. One unique house absolutely known for their Cabernet Sauvignon and Riesling wines, Smith-Madrone sources from their dry-farmed estate vineyards surrounding the winery on top of Spring Mountain. I adored the new 2019 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon (OB, 93) which shows serious poise and lovely herbal accents. Concentrated and showing great aging potential, this beauty will cellar well for decades. Beautiful and elegant, the 2019 Smith-Madrone cabernet Sauvignon shows off red bell pepper with anise, black currants and pencil lead notes on the nose. The palate is fleshy and ripe with great acidity. With more air tobacco leaf and worn leather notes emerge, as this is beautiful to consume now and over the next fifteen years.
Vinography, Alder Yarrow, September 24, 2022
….let’s begin with the perennially tasty Smith-Madrone Cabernet, made high on the slopes of Spring Mountain by two brothers who have doggedly stuck to their vision for what Napa Cabernet should be for many years—namely restrained and ageworthy. Their 2019 is a beautiful expression of their style and of the steep hillsides they farm.
Dark garnet in the glass, this wine smells of crushed dried flowers, tobacco leaf, and black cherries. In the mouth, wonderfully intense black cherry and forest floor notes have a hint of pencil lead and more of the moist pipe tobacco scent that is so alluring. Excellent acidity and very well-integrated oak round out the package. The tannins are quite restrained, and fine-grained, like a soft suede against the top and sides of the mouth. Elegant.
Decanter, Jonathan Cristaldi, June 2022
93 points: Brothers Stu and Charles Smith craft some of the most structured, classic expressions of the Spring Mountain AVA, and the 2019 is no exception. Subtle dark berry fruit, wild mountains herbs and a pretty capsicum nose. Full-bodied, the palate has ample acidity and freshness, revealing green tobacco, blackcurrant, earth and crushed stone minerality. Drinking Window: 2024 – 2050.