Mar 092013
2010 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, CA, $30 (S) – Rating 92

A truly crafted Chardonnay with an enchanting nose of baked apples, ripe citrus and even notes of grilled pineapple. Crisp flavors of ripe red apples, caramel and baking spice with subtle notes of oaky vanilla. Add a touch of minerality combined with perfectly balanced acidity and you have one heck of a wine. But one would expect nothing less from the Smith brothers. Buy This Wine

Feb 172013
2007 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, CA, $45 (S) – Rating 4.2

Consistently one of the best Napa Cabs under$50,  especially for those who prefer a leaner elegant style. The wine offers an intriguing nose of dark cherry and blackberry with subtle smokey whiffs. On the palate expect well-balanced flavors of dark cherry, plum and blackberry with notes of briar and spice. Soft tannins and excellent food pairing acidity adds to the complexity along with hints of espresso in the long finish. Buy This Wine

Sep 172012
2006 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Bottled, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, CA,  $45 (S) – Rating 92

Certainly one of the better Napa Cabernets under $50. The wine opens with a rich textured nose of cherry and ripe plum with notes of cedar and leather. A round mouth-feel offering up flavors of cherry, dark fruit, cocoa and plenty of dark spice. Nice Cabernet complexity enhanced by balanced acidity and supple tannins. Decant 30-60 minutes. Buy This Wine

Aug 142012
2009 Smith-Madrone Chardonnay, Estate Bottled, Spring Mountain District, Napa Valley, CA, $30 (S) – Rating 93

A superb example of Napa Valley Chardonnay with a nose reminiscent of mom’s apple pie, complete with buttered crust and spice. The creamy mouth-feel is balanced with just enough zippy acidity. Flavors of apple, pear, spice, minerality and buttered toast are wonderfully integrated with French oak into a delicious Chardonnay treat. Buy this wine.

Oct 312010
Charlie and Stu Smith Smith-Madrone

Charlie & Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone

A while back Donna and I received an invitation to meet, eat and drink with historic Napa Valley winemaker Stu Smith of Smith-Madrone. The dinner was held during a starlit evening on the rooftop patio of their Denver distributor. The crowd was not too big and many of us were not very familiar with this fairly small producer. Stu Smith cut quite a figure as he spoke easily and generously with the guests. Husky and bearded, Stu reminded me of Jeremiah Johnson after a trip to the barber shop. His style is soft but firm, a real straight shooter. Some weeks later I was talking to a restaurateur who referred to Stu as “the real deal.” I could not agree more.  Continue reading »