2011 Cabernet is ‘one of the most distinctive Napa Cabs of 2011,’ says Hawk Wakawaka

May we share an Instagram post by Elaine Brown, Hawk Wakawaka, November 29, 2014 and the ensuing conversation…


One of the most distinctive Napa Cabs of 2011-Smith-Madrone. Fresh green pepper, forest flower aromatics + pleasing mouthfeel.

cindy1louwhomikehoedmhparis and 22 others like this.

morgansteve Smith madrone is quietly crushing napa in terms of quality

asavoiraffair Awesome! 2 questions: A. What is your opinion on longevity of SM cabs, in particular the ’11 as it’s the current frame of reference. 2. Will the bell pepper nose even out over time/is it an overpowering “green” scent? Curious in general. Thanks in advance.

hawk_wakawaka@asavoiraffair The green pepper is integral to this wine. I suspect it will remain for the continuing life of the wine but it brings a lot of lift to the wine. It is not unpleasant and is without doubt distinctive of the vintage. S-M Cabernet in general ages quite nicely. The 2011 has great balance. I’m sure it’ll age quite a while but the style is drinkable now.


Blake Gray reports on the Sommelier Scavenger Hunt and our 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

Blake Gray reports on Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Sommelier Scavenger Hunt on his blog on November 4:

A dirty secret of the U.S. wine industry is that among themselves, many sommeliers disparage Napa Valley wines. They don’t want to rip Napa publicly because that would insult the taste of many of their wealthiest customers. But I overhear all the time, “Napa Cabernets don’t show any terroir.” Wine & Spirits Magazine staged an interesting competition last month in San Francisco. The magazine asked five teams of sommeliers to investigate a type of wine in a region and then present 6 wines that would represent that region’s terroir. In other words, the winners would find not just the best wines, but wines that said something about the place. It didn’t bode well for Napa that its sommelier team was New York-based and its head, Bar Boulud sommelier Michael Madrigale, is an official ambassador for the Bordeaux Wine Council (CIVB). But Napa kicked ass, took no prisoners, and left even those of us in the room who know how good its wines can be astonished at how well they can show terroir. Here are the 6 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons Madrigale and teammates chose:

Smith-Madrone, Spring Mountain District 2011

Robert Sinskey SLD Estate, Stags Leap District 2009

Robert Mondavi To Kalon Reserve, Oakville 2011

Corison Kronos Vineyard 2010

Mayacamas Vineyards, Mt. Veeder 2008

Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill, Diamond Mountain District, 2008

The Smith Madrone was one of the most impressive wines of the day, with garrigue-like notes of the native California flora on the rugged forests on Spring Mountain. The 2011 vintage in Napa will never score well with Parker et al, but I believe great Napa wines from 2011 will be the best wines in those wineries’ cellars two decades from now, and this is a terrific example. What won the day for Napa, though, wasn’t just that all six were excellent wines. It was their statement of terroir. They share a generosity of fruit you expect from Napa Valley, but they differed substantially based on where in Napa they came from. Nobody would have expected Napa Valley to crush Anderson Valley in a taste-of-terroir contest judged by sommeliers. But then, nobody expected the Giants. Again.

More: http://blog.wblakegray.com/2014/11/terroir-fight-napa-vs-anderson-valley.html

Pouring at Wine & Spirits’ Top 100 Wineries event in San Francisco on October 21

Smith-Madrone at Wine & Spirits Top 100 October 2014

Smith-Madrone was honored to be one of Wine & Spirits Magazine’s Top 100 Wines of the World, featured at a tasting in San Francisco on October 21. Here we are pouring at the event.

Meanwhile, preceding this event, Wine & Spirits had organized the 2014 Sommelier Scavenger Hunt, with various teams covering various regions and varietals. Team Napa Valley won the Wine & Spirits 2014 Sommelier Scavenger Hunt on October 21, 2014 in San Francisco. Team Napa Valley focused on Cabernet Sauvignon; the members were Michael Madrigale of Boulud Sud in New York City, Josiah Baldivino of Bay Grape in Oakland and Michelle Biscieglia of Blue Hill in New York City

Elaine Brown reported on her blog: http://wakawakawinereviews.com/2014/10/21/wine-spirits-inaugural-sommelier-scavenger-hunt-tasting/

Team Napa Valley balanced their presentation of Napa Valley Cabernet with both Valley floor, and differing mountain expressions of the fruit. The wines selected also paid tribute to a range of historic houses well respected for their quality contributions to the development, and sophistication of the region’s wine. This flight was most successful in hitting the balance of the three elements requested of the sommelier team in choosing their wines — coherence, breadth, and typicity of the region.

There were 6 Napa Valley Cabernets presented…..

Smith Madrone 2011 Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: the most distinctive of the cabernets selected, the Smith-Madrone shows refreshing bell pepper aromatics, and ultra mouth-watering length.