Almost exactly a year ago today The Daily Meal awarded Smith-Madrone Winery as their first ever winery of the year. The competition was fierce. One Washington winery, three California wineries, one Virginia winery, three French wineries, one Portuguese winery and one Australian winery. According to The Daily Meal there are about 8,000 wineries in the US, 28,000 in France and over 900,000 in Italy! Furthermore, The Daily Meal was very clear in what they were looking for: “Our intent was to choose one property or enterprise, anywhere in the world, that has not only produced excellent wines consistently over a substantial period of time but has also served as an innovator and/or inspiration in the wine business, whether dynamically or simply by example.” Therefore, you can clearly see that being chosen as the 2014 Winery of the Year is quite an honor! It is an even further honor for me to once again share with you two of Smith-Madrone’s latest release.
I first introduced you to Smith-Madrone wines in my article last January titled, “Taking It Easy with Smith-Madrone Wines.” I really enjoyed their wines last year; that seems to be a trend because I have enjoyed them once again this year. The brothers Smith produced their first vintage in 1977; ironically there is still a world of American wine consumers who have never heard of them or tried their wines. However, everyone that does try their wines love them. They have a stellar reputation in the wine community as hard working, innovators that consistently craft high quality wines at lower than average Napa Valley prices.
The Smith-Madrone property covers about 200 acres on Spring Mountain. The land is filled with Douglas firs, a massive Madrone and poison oak. They have 35 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Riesling, Merlot and Cabernet Franc planted. All the grapes used in their wines are estate grown. Spring Mountain is the perfect location for the Smith brothers. The soil is fertile and very productive, they prefer mountain grapes due to their better quality, and they are located next to Stony Hill Winery, who is known for their excellent Chardonnay that age very well. So let’s taste some wine!
2013 Chardonnay: 100% Chardonnay; This Chardonnay was barrel fermented in 100% new French oak from trees in the in central France where the trees grow slowly with tight grain specially selected by Smith-Madrone to match up with their mountain fruit, aged for nine months in those barrels before bottling; hearing that is enough for me to think I am diving into an over-oaked butter Chardonnay. This is not at all the case! This wine poured a glistening golden yellow into the glass; racy aromas of citrus, orchard fruit, melon, baking spices of cinnamon and nutmeg, and a touch of baked pie crust dazzle the nose; the palate is lively with a backbone of minerality, rich acidity leaves a long, zesty finish; beautifully balanced, well-structured and absolutely perfect paired with spinach quiche; 807 cases produced, SRP $32 A Must Have Chardonnay!
2012 Cabernet Sauvignon: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc; deep ruby with inky violet hues in the glass; aromatics meet the nose with savory herbal notes, eucalyptus, and a touch of dusty earth, followed by rich red and black berries and plums, spice notes, toasted cedar and a touch of cassis; rich and round in a restrained old world style on the palate, well balanced acidity with dusty tannins pleasingly coat the mouth; full body; wonderful long, dry finish; aged 18 months in French oak barrels; 1790 cases produced; an absolute steal at $48 SRP! This wine paired elegantly with pepper coated rib lamb chops with sweet potato puree and roasted chopped Brussels sprouts. Wow! A beautifully crafted NV Cabernet; one of my favorites!
Smith-Madrone is not one of your fancy Napa Valley productions. They craft four wines with elegance and finesse with a tip of the hat to Old World style. Their wines quietly and perennially win gold medals across the US. They offer tastings and tours by appointment. On your next trip to Napa Valley I highly recommend you visit Smith-Madrone. In the meantime, visit the Smith-Madrone web site to learn more about them, view their portfolio of wines and order some for yourself right away!
My Song Selection: Last year I paired the Eagles “Take it Easy” with Smith-Madrone wines. It really was the perfect song pairing to exemplify the heartbeat of the winery, their style, and easy going, elegant wines. The winery and wines really do have a laid back style so in honor of the late Glenn Frey and in keeping with the Smith-Madrone style here is my song selection:
Get your own bottles of Smith-Madrone wine and tell me what song you pair with them. Cheers!