I was recently introduced to a winery that I want to shout about from the rooftop. It is about a boutique winery still in its infancy but hitting on all the right marks. When many producers are focused on mass consumption wines that are concentrated, over-oaked, and sweet as syrup, Smith Story Wines is embracing wine making at its finest. Embodied the ideas that if you have the right grapes in the right climate with the right soil nature will make great wine so get out of its way. But there is much to the story of Smith Story.
“Wine is our life, we are honored to now jump into the creative process of producing wines after decades of learning and selling wine for others. It is our hope that you invest in our story, fall in love with the wines and help us spread the joy of Smith Story Wine Cellars, we are humbled by this opportunity to follow our passion.” – Eric and Ali
Eric and Ali met working at a northern California wine retailer. Eric was the retail buyer for the regions of Germany, Loire Valley, Alsace, Austria, and Greece for K&L Wine Merchants. Ali’s focus was on hospitality, wine buying, consumer marketing, national sales experience, and entrepreneurism with her company TexaCali Wine Company. You see, Ali is a Texas girl from Cowtown, aka Fort Worth. A flourishing friendship lead to a romance that took them to the Big Island of Hawaii for elopement. Today they are proud parents of their Instagram famous Goldendoodle named Lord Sandwich, and Smith-Story Wines.
Although their vision is still young it has been met with overwhelming success. It is no wonder since they make low intervention wines in styles reminiscent of old world France. Their process is simple, buy high quality grapes, from outstanding growers with ideal vineyard sites and let the wine speak for itself. Their goal is to “respect what the land offers, while shepherding in the cellar and ultimately delivering beautiful expressions of each varietal to supporters of Smith Story Wine Cellars.” Based on the quality of the wines I tasted as a participant of a Charles Communications virtual tasting I would say they are hitting every mark.
The Smith Story Mission: “Smith Story Wines are made with respect for the land, kindness for the grower and, love from the winemaker. Each vineyard we work with is owned by families, we want to ensure their present and future success as grape growers. The wines show restraint, balance and integrity of the grape. Our winemaking philosophy is to utilize classic, old world techniques and let the grapes and sense of place where they are grown both speak for themselves.”
Drink what you love, love what you drink. This is Our Story.
2016 Smith Story Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County USA ($25): pale lemon-green; medium aromas of grapefruit, passion fruit, lemon zest, lime juice, fresh cut grass, under-ripe peach, under-ripe green melon, touch of green pepper and minerality; zesty palate with lots of spice notes, medium+ acidity, medium- body, crisp and clean with a medium finish that is spicy and fun.
2015 Smith Story Thorn Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast USA ($80): medium ruby; medium inviting aromas of red cherries, strawberries, black raspberries, blackberries, cranberry, pomegranate, baking spice, black tea, black and white pepper, mushrooms, forest floor; a nose every Pinot Noir lover will adore; a well-balanced palate with medium body and tannins, medium+ acidity, juicy red fruit mixed with underbrush; contemplative and refined, with a long finish; shame to open this wine today, it will age beautifully.
2015 Smith Story Cabernet Franc Sonoma Valley USA ($40): medium ruby; medium+ aromas that dazzle the nose, crushed violets, red cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, black plum, dried herbal notes, all spice, cloves, mint, green pepper, fresh tobacco leaves, vanilla; medium+ tannins and acidity, pronounced flavor intensity of spice and restrained fruit with dusty earth on the palate, full body yet restrained, long finish; a classic old world style Cab Franc that has elegance and finesse; inaugural release of a Cab Franc.
2015 Smith Story Pickberry Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain USA ($60): medium+ ruby; medium+ rich aromas of black plum, black cherries, blackberries, black raspberries, black currants, all spice, dried roses, tobacco, licorice, black pepper, eucalyptus, green pepper, vanilla; smooth and elegant on the palate, rich full-body with ripe high tannins, high acidity, long spicy finish; inaugural single vineyard Cab from Pickberry Vineyard is a success; although it is full bodied and rich it shows restraint with used French oak creating a well-balanced and lovely wine.
To learn more about Smith Story wines visit their web site. To learn more about Lord Sandwich’s charity Socks for Sandwich, which provides socks for those in need click here, and to learn more about Eric and Ali’s journey click here. Finally to purchase these wines or any others from Smith Story click here. They have tasting rooms in Anderson Valley and Russian River Valley. Next time you are in the area stop in for a taste.
My Song Selection: Like I said Ali is a Texan from Ft Worth. She said one of her favorite singers is Leon Bridges. He happens to be one of mine as well. I had the pleasure of seeing him perform last year in Dallas…amazing! Since Smith Story is a great love story I had to let Leon do his thing…enjoy!
Get your own bottle of Smith Story wine and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!