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 2018 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. Once in the mouth dark fruit mixed with red fruits are predominate. Then leather weigh in with the fulfillment of the aromas previously mentioned along with “Christmas spices” of nutmeg and cinnamon”. On the finish, it 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 86.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 7.5% Cabernet Franc. It spent 21 months in barrel, 50% new French oak and 55% neutral oak. Smith-Madrone made 1,006 cases and this is a solid mid-priced wine at $62 at the winery! This was just released in October. 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
Paired with a BBQ’ed Carne Asada dish. Marinated 24+ hours with cilantro leaves, olive oil, soy sauce, fresh squeezed orange & lime juice, minced garlic, diced jalapeno, cumin and salt/pepper. Served with mixed long and short grain rice and a roasted broccoli and mushrooms. An excellent pairing with the 2018 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon from Spring Mountain.