2016 Smith-Madrone Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – An Uncommonly Smooth and Mouth-Filling Cabernet

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The Winery

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, although there is repair work going on to restore fences and gates. The winery’s tasting room hasn’t yet reopened but they welcome sales through their website or over the phone.

(Photo taken by Matthew Denny)

The Wine

The 2016 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon provided a unique perspective to Cabernet Sauvignon’s from Napa. While I have enjoyed many Cab’s from Spring Mountain, I suspect it is the dry farmed quality that presents such a welcoming twist. First on the eyes a deep red crimson color, along with royal purple hues, presenting a medium heavy viscosity, intrigues your visual awareness. On the nose raspberry, dark Bing cherries, vanilla pipe tobacco waft up to stir up your excitement. Then once in the mouth dark fruit and leather weigh in with the fulfillment of the aromas previously mentioned. On the finish, which is smooth and silky at first, but later puffs out its structure and tannins as a proud authentic wine. Also traces of minerality provide a complete and enjoyable wine. The wine contains 89.7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3.4% Merlot and 6.4% Cabernet Franc. It spent 19 months in barrel, 45% new French oak and 55% neutral oak.  Smith-Madrone made 1,375 cases and this is a solid mid-priced wine at $58 at the winery!  I have had many others wines much closer to $100 that did not provide the balance, fullness and enjoyment that this did!

The Food and Wine Pairing

Since the weather was clear and sunny although a cool 54 degrees, decided to BBQ. Paired with a marinated and seared tri-tip steak, Yukon Gold mashed potatoes with Blue cheese and steamed broccoli and tomatoes. The tri-tip was garnished with small pieces of Point Reyes Blue cheese making it so delicious with the wine.






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