2015 Riesling is pitch perfect

On December 22 Peg Melnik at The Santa Rosa Press Democrat recommends “wines that will impress:”

Playing host over the holiday? If so, be forewarned. In Wine Country, guests have high expectations; they feel entitled to have their palates pampered.

With top winemakers in this region rivaling the best on the planet, it won’t be hard to impress.

They are world-class experimenters who push the envelope. They don’t settle. These people don’t punch a timecard. On the contrary, they work crazy hours and it’s most evident during harvest when they are sleep-deprived for days on end.

The wines listed have been palate-tested and they’re prime examples of the best crafted in the region. They will no doubt prompt your guests to ask for another pour. When you fill their glasses, you can smile with peace of mind; these wines make you look good.
—Smith-Madrone, 2015 Spring Mountain District Napa Valley Riesling, 12.9 percent. This complex riesling has layered notes of papaya, petrol and honeysuckle. It’s nice and dry, with bright acidity. Pitch perfect balance. Impressive.


2015 Riesling is a ‘lip-smacking’ ‘great vintage’

Isaac Baker at Terroirist tastes the 2015 Riesling:

Light yellow. Aromas of which peaches, salted limes, chalk dust, white tea and fresh tennis balls. On the palate this is juicy and zesty with live-wire acidity that kicks off the wine and finishes it. Gorgeous peaches, nectarines and limes, with complex minerals, ocean rocks, mountain streams. Lip-smacking stuff that leaves the palate salivating. Another great vintage of this Riesling, and it will surely age quite nicely for at least a decade.



2015 + 2006 Riesling!

Stu presented the 2015 and 2006 Rieslings to a group of wine writers last week: here is Allison Levine’s take:

Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Smith Madrone Riesling, Napa Valley

Written by Allison Levine on May 26, 2018

Think Napa Valley and you probably think Cabernet Sauvignon. But, this past week, I spent three days at the first annual Wine Writers Educational Tour, taking a deep dive into Napa Valley. Of course, I tasted a lot of very good Cabernet Sauvignon and learned about the more than 100 soil variations in Napa and more. But we tasting many more wines than Cabernet Sauvignon and one wine that stood out over the week was a Riesling! The Smith Madrone Riesling is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Smith Madrone Winery was started by brothers Stuart and Charles Smith in the fall of 1970. They purchased their property, an abandoned vineyard, on Spring Mountain. A densely forested property, they logged the land and with the idea to make great wine, planted Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. The Pinot Noir was later grafted over to Chardonnay, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

When Stu Smith was asked why he planted Johannesburg Riesling, he explained that in 1970 and 1971, all of the grapes sold for the same amount of money. A white wine boon came in the mid-1970s but then the red wine boon followed and much of the Riesling in Napa began to be pulled out.

“Riesling is not a great white wine,” explained Stu Smith. “It is one of the great wines of the world.” And in 1979, they entered their Riesling in a wine competition sponsored by the French restaurant guide Gault Millau. Smith-Madrone’s Riesling was selected, above German Rieslings, as the Best Riesling.

The Smith Madrone Riesling is a dry-style Riesling that represents the pure expression of the grape. And, like good Riesling, it has great aging potential as we discovered as we tasted two vintages side-by-side.

2015 Smith-Madrone Riesling, Spring Mountain – The minerality is screaming out of the glass. With fresh aromas of lemon, green apple, apricot and wet stones, this wine is powerful but elegant. It is crisp and bright and the acidity dances on the tongue. This wine is just so enjoyable!

2006 Smith-Madrone Riesling, Spring Mountain – With more than 10 years of age on this wine, the wine has picked up fusel oil aromas and a honey character but on the palate it still fresh and bright with crisp acidity.

Just thinking about the Smith Madrone Riesling, the Please The Palate pick of the week, makes my mouth water!


Riesling for Mother’s Day!