Month: September 2021
Pulled this out of the cellar the other evening, a 2014 Arkenstone NVD Cabernet Sauvignon from Howell Mountain (Napa Valley). Intense purple coloring, the aroma of black cherry burst into the nose. Black cherry, chocolate, blueberries and red cherries in the palate. A very solid and enjoyable wine with a great mid long finish, structured and beautiful tannins. An average of 92 points and today the bottle runs approximately $85 to $110.
A previous story on this unique Arkenstone Winery can read at:
One of those evening where wines other than California were grabbed from the cellar. Opened two very different wines from Italy. The first being a 2012 La Quercia Montepulciano d’ Abruzzo Colline Teramane DOCG Riserva. Wine from this area overlooking the Adriatic Sea have ample sunlight, fog and ocean breezes to produce some highly developed and well-structured wines. This Riserva is aged two years in oak barrels creating spice and aromas with dark fruits and briarwood flavors. Always a favorite wine! Price per bottle was $35/bottle.
The other wine was a rather young 2019 Langhe Padrun DOC from Poderie Elia in Neive, Italy. This is the highest altitude vineyard in Barbaresco appellation. A soft and drinkable Nebbiolo without food. The radiant light red coloring is hypnotizing to view in the wine glass. The first smell and sip of the wine is one of strong red cherries. Also nuances of minerality and dried herbs are present. It is aged two years in French and Slavonian oak barrels to create a richer more robust flavor than the color! Price was $25.29/per bottle.
Both wines were recently added to the cellar from an Italian presentation evening event at The Wine Steward, Pleasanton, California. Look forward to enjoying these wines with Italian meals in the near future.
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).
(Photo taken by Matthew Denny)
The 2016 Riesling is extremely aromatic with floral notes and green apple on the nose. A light golden 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 the current release is 2017 and listed on their website for $34/bottle.
The Wine & Food Pairing
The Smith-Madrone 2016 Estate Riesling was pulled from the cellar for last night’s meal due to the spiciness of the dish called Pad Thai Shrimp. We had tried another recipe a few weeks back and it was a light and enjoyable dish. Last evening went with a much more flavorful and spicy recipe. The ingredients were flat rice noodles, virgin oil, minced garlic, uncooked shrimp, eggs, bean sprouts, red bell pepper, green onions, peanuts, chopped cilantro and lime juice. The Pad Thai sauce included fish sauce, soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, Sriracha and creamy peanut butter! Limes were plated to squeeze the juice over the top of the dish. Accompanied the meal was a fresh garden salad with an Asian dressing. The meal packed a punch of flavor and warmth! The 2016 Smith-Madrone Riesling was a godsend. The wine was refreshing and quenched the palate. The semi-sweet finish was spot on for this meal!
The definition of hindsight is “understanding of a situation or event, only after it has happened or developed”. Last Saturday evening, with the help of two longtime friends (Mark & Candy Strubbe), we tried the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon by Hindsight Wines in Calistoga, Napa Valley. Specifically their Howell Mountain from Bella Vetta Vineyard. The collective hindsight is how wonderful Hindsight Wines are!!
The 2017 Hindsight Wine from Howell Mountain is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Bella Vetta Vineyard, on Howell Mountain. This small vineyard of 1.9 acres vineyard is located on Howell Mountain at 2,000 foot elevation along the La Jota Ridge. Sitting above the fog line this allows almost continual warmth to ripen the grapes yet cool in the evening to help neutralize the acidity. This combination makes the vines produce grapes that provided intense flavor. On the eyes, a darker red/blackish coloring in the glass due to a long extraction by the winemaker. Medium to medium heavy viscosity. On the nose, distinct blackberries and raspberries waft into the nose. On the palate, some dark cocoa, soft pipe tobacco, lush juicy plum and a hint of licorice. The tannins are present but are soft and rounded. The multi-layered structure provides a finish of delight and quality with an oak presence. Almost two years of aging in 100% French oak barrels, 50% new and 50% neutral. This is Howell Mountain fruit at its best! This again rated a high mark in “my book” of wines tasted in 2021. This wine retails for $95/bottle per their website.
The Food Pairing
We tasted the wine with a twenty-four hour marinated tri-tip steak in a Chaka sauce. It was seared and BBQ’ed and served medium to medium rare. Additionally served with pan roasted Brussel sprouts with olive oil and drizzled balsamic vinegar and twice baked cheese potatoes. Followed up by a peach pie a la mode. The tri-tip and wine pairing was as always stunning and simply simpatico with each other. The Hindsight Howell Mountain with the nose, rounded tannins, layered structure and mid long fisnish was a delightful food and wine pairing.
Hindsight also recently released their 2020 Sauvignon Blanc and their 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon 20/20. Both of these wines have made my Best Wines of 2021!