New vintages in time for the holidays
St. Helena, Napa Valley, November 2015 —- Smith-Madrone Vineyards is now releasing the 2013 Chardonnay and 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2013 Chardonnay sells for $32 and 807 cases were produced. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon sells for $48 and 1,790 cases were produced. As with all of Smith-Madrone’s wines, these new releases are made from grapes grown in the estate vineyards surrounding the winery, perched at the top of Spring Mountain in St. Helena.
The winery’s other current releases are the 2013 Riesling ($27) and the 2009 Cook’s Flat Reserve ($200).
Founder and General Partner Stuart Smith says that the 2012 Cabernet “has an amazingly deep, very dark red color, pure, well-defined fruit aromas of Cabernet Sauvignon, complex, with cedar, cigar box, oak and that spicy, very specific aroma of Cabernet Franc. The taste, fully integrated with the aromas, reveals a wine of depth, complexity, power and finesse. There is some tannin but not excessive; the overall impression is a soft and smooth wine with a long and complex finish and a lively tangy core in the mid-palate.”
Winemaker Charles Smith explains that the 2013 Chardonnay was barrel fermented in 100% new oak barrels made from trees harvested from the central French forests of Alliers, Trancais and Nevers. “It is here where the oak trees grow very slowly and have a tight grain that we think matches up so well with our mountain grown grapes. The Chardonnay ages for nine months in those barrels before bottling. There is a lively aroma of pear, apple and melon with just a hint of the oak flavor. The palate carries through with those pears, apples and melons, confirming the aromas. Here’s a wine of structure, power, boldness along with elegance, bright acidity and a lovely long lingering finish. There is no doubt that this wine’s heritage is from the mountains,” he adds.
Smith-Madrone was established in the spring of 1971 when brothers Stuart and Charles Smith cleared the forest and reclaimed a long abandoned vineyard. They have meticulously farmed Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc in the ensuing years and are long-time proponents and practitioners of dry farming. They built the winery and they make the wine: “we certainly are the definition of ‘authentic’ and ‘artisanal,’” they explain. Smith-Madrone is one of the few entirely estate-vineyard mountain wineries in the Napa Valley. The grapes grow at the top of Spring Mountain at elevations between 1,200 and 1,900-foot elevations on steep slopes ranging up to 35%. The vines are planted in red “Aiken” soil which is derived from weathered volcanic materials and sedimentary rock.
Stuart Smith and Charles Smith are the descendants of the Fetherolf family, German farmers from the Palatinate region, who came to America on the Thistle of Glasgow in 1730. The winery’s name came as an acknowledgement both of their hard work in establishing the winery as well as the Madrone trees which distinguish the property.
Smith-Madrone is open for tours and tastings by appointment only, at 4022 Spring Mountain Road (St. Helena, California 94574, 707/963-2283, www.smithmadrone.com, [email protected]). Tastings and tours are always conducted by either Charles Smith, Assistant Winemaker Sam Smith or Stuart Smith.