A taste of Smith-Madrone: McCoy’s view

Decanter - - PRODUCER PROFILE -

Smith- Madrone, Ries­ling, Spring Moun­tain District, Napa Val­ley 2016 91 £ 37-£40 Roberson, The Wine Re­serve Smith-Madrone’s dry Ries­ling has long had a ded­i­cated fol­low­ing and the win­ery is one of the few pro­duc­ers of the va­ri­ety left in Napa. It’s Al­sa­tian in style, and this vin­tage shows a su­per wet-rock min­er­al­ity, suc­cu­lent limey notes, juicy acid­ity and a round tex­ture. It’s also the first vin­tage avail­able in hand-waxed mag­nums, which makes sense be­cause the wines are sur­pris­ingly long-lived. Drink 2020-2029 Al­co­hol 12.8%

Smith- Madrone, Chardon­nay, Spring Moun­tain District, Napa Val­ley 2017 89 N/A UK www. smith­madrone.com

This was a roller­coaster vin­tage in terms of tem­per­a­ture, with op­pres­sive heat on La­bor Day week­end in early Septem­ber (not to men­tion the hor­rific Oc­to­ber fires, which didn’t dam­age Smith-Madrone). Ac­cord­ing to Stu Smith, with­out wa­ter­ing the vines might not have sur­vived. But this es­tate Chardon­nay is a nice wine in a tough year: it’s round and rich with green hints and lovely acid­ity. Drink 2020-2025 Alc 14.2%

Smith- Madrone, Rosé, Spring Moun­tain District, Napa Val­ley 2018 90 N/A UK www. smith­madrone.com

The win­ery ex­per­i­mented for sev­eral years be­fore re­leas­ing this first vin­tage of rosé.

In the wa­ter­melon-hued 50/50 blend of Caber­net Franc and Mer­lot, the Cab Franc re­ally stands out. Aro­mat­i­cally, it shows off lus­cious flo­ral aro­mas of roses, and in­tense, suc­cu­lent red-berry fruit flavours coat your tongue. This is a se­ri­ous rosé that would go well with food. Drink 2020-2022 Alc 14.3%

Smith- Madrone, Cook’s Flat Re­serve, Spring Moun­tain District, Napa Val­ley 2016 96

N/A UK www. smith­madrone.com

This lim­ited-pro­duc­tion Caber­net blend is a se­lec­tion of the best bar­rels, and the vin­tage en­joyed a near-per­fect grow­ing sea­son. The dark, in­tense colour prom­ises more den­sity and con­cen­tra­tion than the Es­tate Caber­net. Ex­plo­sive aro­mas of vi­o­lets, mint, laven­der and fruit waft out of the glass and re­flect the high pro­por­tion of Caber­net Franc. The lay­ered flavours are über-in­tense, and the tex­ture is smooth and con­cen­trated. Wow!

Drink 2021-2040 Alc 14.3%

Smith- Madrone, Caber­net Sau­vi­gnon, Spring Moun­tain District, Napa Val­ley 2016 94

£ 50 (2015) Roberson

The win­ery’s es­tate Caber­net is from mostly dry-farmed vines grown at the top of Spring Moun­tain, el­e­va­tion 550m, and in this vin­tage the sense of place shines through – es­pe­cially with only 45% new oak used for bar­rel age­ing. It’s very much a moun­tain Caber­net, with clas­sic struc­ture, cas­sis and graphite aro­mas, and deep, savoury red-fruit flavours with hints of mint. The tan­nins are pow­er­ful but very fine. Drink 2020-2036 Alc 14.3%

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