Smith-Madrone Chardonnay

I’ve long been a fan of the Riesling produced by Smith-Madrone and further an ardent admirer of their willingness to stick with a grape which despite the great wines it can deliver, doesn’t bring home the biggest side of bacon in the Napa Valley.

Charlie on-top-of-spring-mountain

©robb mcdonough, st. helena ca

Their Spring Mountain property above Saint Helena is ruggedly sited, with steepness of slope and a climb to altitudes above the spas below. The land gives wines with verve, a sense of structure and intensity. On Saturday during a visit to the estate, I had my first opportunity to taste two vintages of their truly Burgundian Chardonnay. I realize that Burgundian is used far too often as an adjective in describing New World Chardonnay but you have to hear me out, by reading these notes on the current release, as the description truly applies.

Smith-Madrone, Napa Valley, Spring Mountain District, Estate Bottled, Chardonnay 2007 The nose features apples, both green and red with a hint of pears. There’s toasty oak in the background as well. In the mouth there is plenty of acidity, as if the wine is from Chablis. That’s what I love, the bracing character that begs for shellfish. Yet there is also a complement of richness, a mouthfeel that adds depth to the wine. The wine has great length, a lasting impression. Proprietors Stu and Charlie Smith. Grown, produced and bottled in St. Helena 14.3% $30 at the winery


About Ray

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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