Smith-Madrone Vineyards is located on 200 acres on top of Spring Mountain west of St. Helena with 38 acres planted in vineyards. The vineyard elevation ranges from 1,300 to 2,000 feet. The Founder, managing partner and enologist is Stuart Smith, Charles Smith is the winemaker and Sam Smith is the assistant winemaker. Truly a family affair! All the wines are estate and dry-farmed on top of the mountain. Annual production is between 3,000 to 4,000 cases a year. Currently they are producing Chardonnay, Riesling, Cabernet Sauvignon and their iconic Cooks Flat (blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc). A note on the September Napa Valley Glass Fire: No vineyards or buildings were damaged but communications, fences and gates were damaged on the property. They hope to be fully operational soon.
(Photo taken by Matthew Denny)
The 2016 Riesling is extremely aromatic with floral notes and green apple on the nose. A light yellow straw color and medium viscosity. On the palate, strong lime, mixed with stone fruits (white peach and apricots) tame the lime citrus. On the finish, the minerality comes through strong and pure from either the volcanic soil, or sandstone, limestone or the general rocky soil found on the property. The minerality and acidity is jovial and enticing with a semi-sweet crescendo. Smith-Madrone Vineyards produced 1,199 cases and sells it for $32.
The Wine & Food Pairing
The Smith-Madrone 2016 Estate Riesling was chosen for last night’s meal due to the spiciness of the dish called Firecracker Chicken. This used skinless chicken breast (cut into 1 inch pieces), cornstarch, eggs (beaten), vegetable oil, Sriracha, chunky garlic pepper sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, red pepper flakes and sliced green onions. To say this dish was HOT and SPICY is an understatement but it was delicious. Having the 2016 Smith-Madrone Riesling was a godsend. The wine was refreshing and quenched the palate. The semi-sweet finish was spot on for the meal!
Hope to try this Riesling with another spicy dish in the near future that is not as hot, called Shanghai Chicken.