The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon is the Wine of the Week in the St. Helena Star:
There is almost a cult-like following for the Smith-Madrone Riesling, and I am one of its fans. But this past week I needed a cab, and opened the 2009 from their Spring Mountain estate. If you have not visited, there are wonderful views of the valley floor, the Sierra Nevada mountains, and their own vineyards, from the property’s 1,300-1,900 foot elevations….
Throw a steak on the grill or braise short ribs, for this cab has plenty of blackberry, sage brush, and spice flavors. But the wine only clocks in at 13.9 percent alcohol; a flavorful option to the higher octane beasts still out there, despite the turning tide.
More at http://napavalleyregister.com/star/business/wine-of-the-week/article_99459706-dbef-50b4-8cfc-7818410e8757.html
From English blogger and wine writer Adam Lechmere, some thoughts on the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon:
The Smith-Madrone ranch high on Spring Mountain is a piece of Napa history, unchanged since bearded pioneers Charlie and Stuart Smith arrived in the 1970s. The tasting room is a comfortable, ramshackle barn with armchairs you sink into. They have an extraordinary list (their Spring Mountain Riesling is renowned, and delicious, though not as original or unusual as their Cabernets).
This ‘09 has a classic nose, blackcurrant and mint vibrating in the glass, then flavours that can only be described as Bordeaux-like, cassis and coffee, but with an additional layer of perfumed fruit that stamps it indelibly as Napa. High vineyards, long hot days and cool nights bring sharp acidity to the structure. Superb.
In the August issue of Wine & Spirits Magazine, the 2009 Cabernet:
90 points and Best Buy
A substantial wine with mountain-grown intensity in its meaty, cherry-scented fruit…The fruit grows more fragrant with air… Powerful and gracious, this should develop well.
Foxlow is a new neighborhood restaurant on St. John Street in Clerkenwell in London. Zeren Wilson describes the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon on Foxlow’s wine list:
Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful thing, but the opportunities to taste at the elegant end of the scale are rare. Hallelujah for the Smith brothers, whose estate in the prestigious Spring Mountain is planted on very steep slopes on the top of the mountain: the resulting grapes retain freshness which gives this wine’s great balance. Plush and seductive on the palate, dominated by cassis and black cherry, this is a great example of a restrained wine from a region better known for fruit bombs.
And now from England, on the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, an Instagram:
Elegant, not blowsy.
Something game-changing happened for California wine exports a few weeks ago. A cohort of British wine buyers who had previously associated California only with cheap and not very cheerful brands and unthinkably expensive and often exaggerated Chardonnay and Cabernet was exposed to something completely different. Not that the wines on show at an all-day event celebrating “The New California,” organised by London wine merchants Roberson, were bargains. But the wines themselves presented a completely different and refreshing face of America’s wine state: bone dry with nerve, tension, intrigue, geographical awareness, no more than 13.5 per cent alcohol and, in most cases, the promise of developing into something even more interesting. The day of tasting and presentations was named after a controversial new book by Jon Bonné, the wine editor of The San Francisco Chronicle, who led the talks.
Jancis’s picks: Particularly strongly recommended: Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 Napa Valley
April 25, 2014, TheDailyMeal, Roger Morris
At a time when we may be lured away for spring picnic rosés and chilled white sipping wines on the sun deck, it is also grilling time — and grilled meats with their charred fats and pink interiors love red wines.
2009 Smith Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon: A little rustic and traditional — neither a good nor bad judgment — with a somewhat lean structure. It has red cherry flavors, decided herbal notes, some licorice, and easy tannins. Pair with grilled ribs, pork or beef.
94 points: You’ve got to love a Napa Valley Cabernet with this kind of quality to price ratio. Easily better than many competitors that cost up to three times as much, this wine delivers classic California character, low alcohol and big flavor, with age-worthy structure to boot. Brothers Charles and Stuart Smith have done it again, giving us blackberry and black currant fruit, cedar chest aroma, mellow spice and a long, well integrated finish. No high octane cocktail wine here — this demands a special meal.
5 California Wineries That Wowed Me in 2013
2013 was a great year, wasn’t it? Over the course of the year I tasted a lot of amazing wines and toured many a beautiful California vineyard. As a writer for the daily wine blog Terroirist, I blind-tasted my way through a lot of samples in 2013, most of which hailed from CA. I found myself gravitating toward several producers who put out consistently awesome wines, regardless of vintage or grape variety.
Founded in 1971, Smith-Madrone’s winery is located on Spring Mountain, west of St. Helena. The operation is run by brothers Stuart Smith, managing partner and vineyard manager, and Charles Smith III, winemaker. They dry farm their estate vineyards, which line steep slopes between 1,300 and 2,000 feet in elevation. Their mountain wines are dynamic, lively and they show a refreshing sense of purity and minerality.
92 points: Dark ruby color. Aromas of plum sauce, black cherries, sweet vanilla, caramel, some nice forest floor and peppered steak. On the palate, medium acid and firm tannins. Currants and plum fruit lead the way, followed by some kicking spices, charcoal and an herbal, maybe a pickled beet note? Sweet vanilla and cedar, but not too much, and they’re matched by the fallen leaves and soil notes that come out strong on the finish. I love this tart pickle note. A unique wine with equal parts guts and nuance. Seriously impressive stuff that’s built to last. Includes 8% Merlot and 8% Cab Franc, the wine was aged 22 months in new American white oak.
NowAnd Zin reviews the 2009 Cabernet:
Stuart and Charles Smith – brothers who attached their shared name to that of the trees from which their estate vineyard was reclaimed – pride themselves on making wines of balance. They are also proud to price their elegant offerings so they may appear on more dinner tables than those of just the one percent. At $45, the Smith-Madrone Cab is not exactly a bargain wine. It is, however, a value wine – one which could easily bring much more per bottle than it does.
From Napa Valley’s Spring Mountain District comes the 2009 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon. 84% of the grapes are mountainside-grown Cabernet Sauvignon, the other 16% equal parts Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The wine is aged for 22 months in new American white oak barrels and is quite restrained at 13.9% abv. Just over 1,300 cases were produced. The vines are dry-farmed, which means the roots have to go deep for water and nutrients. This low-vigor method produces small berries packed with flavor. The cooler mountain climate helps keep ripeness, and therefore alcohol, in check.
The wine looks very dark and rich, but the nose shows equal parts herbs and fruit. The blackberry and blackcurrant aromas seem carried along by eucalyptus and sage. The palate is an elegant presentation of similar notes, with the flavor of cinnamon and tobacco riding herd of that cool-vintage fruit.